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Forget obsolete passwords; secure your MasterCard with a selfie

forget obsolete passwords secure your mastercard with a selfie

Emerging technologies in biometrics are helping financial institutions, merchants and consumers from entering cumbersome passwords and PINs.

MasterCard showed off its Identity Check "Selfie Pay" app that lets users verify their identity with their bank by snapping a selfie, saying a phrase or using a fingerprint. The company piloted the software with Mountain View, California-based First Tech Credit Union and Dutch bank ABN Amro in August and plans to license it to U.S customers by mid 2016 and internationally by 2017.

"I personally hate passwords," said Bob Reany, MasterCard's senior vice president for identity solutions. "We're making it better for consumers and safer at the same time. That's really the big change” he added.

MasterCard is aggressively investing in biometric technology solutions, recognizing an opportunity to offer more secure payment options to clients and addressing a clear consumer pain point. According to a MasterCard survey, 53 percent of shoppers forget passwords more than once a week, losing more than 10 minutes when they reset their accounts. The result is, more than a third of people abandon an online or mobile purchase.

Representatives from MasterCard on the show floor demonstrated a variety of new biometric technologies the company is testing along with partners. Particularly interesting is The Nymi Band. The Canadian start-up has developed a proprietary technology that leverages the wearer's unique cardiac signature otherwise known as your heart rate as a biometric identifier.

"By working with partners like TD and MasterCard, we are effectively demonstrating that continuous authentication can be a more secure and convenient way to make retail payments," said Karl Martin, Nymi’s founder and CTO.

MAGAZINES