You could soon be saying goodbye to cumbersome passwords that are tough to remember. MasterCard is planning to replace these with selfies for verifying credit card payments when you shop online.
The credit card company confirmed yesterday at the ongoing Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that it plans to accept selfies and fingerprints as an alternative to passwords.
It conducted a trial run in the US and Netherlands last year, and the company told the BBC that 92% of its test subjects preferred the new system to passwords.
MasterCard said that the new feature will be introduced this summer in the UK, US, Canada, Netherlands, Belgium, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Denmark.
"Consumers hate passwords," said Ajay Bhalla, chief of the firm's safety and security division, to the BBC. "In the modern world everyone has a mobile phone and there is internet connectivity everywhere. So, we should be able to use biometrics [instead] to authenticate ourselves."
While making an online payment, consumers would provide credit card details as usual, but if further authentication is required, they will be asked to look at their phone's camera or use its fingerprint sensor rather than be told to type in a password. If the user opts for a selfie, he will have to blink into the camera to prove he is not just holding up a photo.
While some experts agree that such biometric checks can reduce fraud, others believe that conmen could easily spoof this system. However, MasterCard says that its other security mechanisms should be able to prevent or at least detect suspicious behaviour.
The company also assured users that the facial scans and fingerprint data will not be transmitted in a form that could be intercepted, stolen or used by scammers.