MasterCard's Plans for Facial Recognition Raise Questions
NEWS ANALYSIS: MasterCard's plans to add facial recognition as a means of verification might help secure online transactions, but at what cost and what risk?MasterCard is experimenting with facial recognition as a layer of security for its credit card payments. The idea is that customers could use their smartphones to prove that they're who they say they are when they're making what the industry calls a "card not present" transaction. A good example of that type of transaction is purchases online or over the phone. MasterCard will be testing the idea by having users send short video clips of their faces, taken in real time. Current reports are that the video clip would require the user to take some action, such as smiling, that would prove that they're real, and not a photo of the actual card holder. While complete details of how this will play out remain for later this year, a MasterCard spokesperson did confirm that this description is correct. MasterCard is not yet releasing much in the way of details about the new technology. However, MasterCard Vice President and Business Leader Jane Khodos told eWEEK that this effort is a companion to other forms of identity verification available to the company. "In the physical world, we have EMV to make our purchases more secure," Khodos said. "When it comes to online purchases, most of us can agree that passwords are a real problem. "People forget them often and it's a pain to go through the retrieval process. Consumers that dislike passwords have a choice to secure their online payment transactions with their face and/or fingerprint, or continue to use passwords. MasterCard Identity Check is another layer of security to guard against online fraud," she continued.
In some ways, the concept is similar to what Apple uses for Apple Pay. There, a person's fingerprint is stored securely in his or her phone. Then, when a purchase is made, software on the phone asks for the fingerprint again and compares it with the stored image of the fingerprint, and if they match, approves the purchase.