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January 23, 2018

Online biometric payments brought to Europe by Mastercard

What do you think of biometric authentication? Would you happily give up passwords and use a new method?

By Tom Ball

In early 2018 Mastercard is set to launch a new capability via which European shoppers will be able to use biometric technology for the authentication of online payments.

This project will involve both fingerprint scanning and facial recognition technology, both of which society has become familiar with through the widespread use of smartphones.

Mastercard is proving to be at the tip of spearhead of biometric technology for payments, having been engaged in research and implementation. The Mastercard Identity Check offering is active across the globe and is compatible with online banking and shopping.

Online biometric payments brought to Europe by MastercardAs reported by Finextra, Javier Perez, president, Mastercard Europe, says: “Biometric technologies perfectly match consumers’ expectations of getting the secure payment solutions of tomorrow, in line with the increased digitalisation of lifestyles. This can significantly benefit consumers, retailers and banks by improving the purchase experience and better securing the transaction.”

There has been growing research pointing toward consumers preferring the idea of using biometric authentication over remembering passwords, a global security weak point that is constantly leveraged by malicious actors.

Other work conducted by Mastercard in the biometrics space includes the launch of a biometric credit card, in this instance the process requires a fingerprint. Mastercard trialled this capability in South Africa with successful results, with the fingerprint recognition technology built into the card itself. Like with passwords, pin numbers have also been problematic when people are trusted to protect and manage them.

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In addition to the biometric credit card, Mastercard also launched the concept of the biometric selfie for payments, this move also targeted Europe in 2017. The UK is included in the 12 countries the project was pushed out to, while the payments giant continued to trial it in countries like the United States, Canada and the Netherlands.

Working with Oxford University, Mastercard conducted and presented research that found 93 per cent of UK consumers prepared to take up biometrics if it meant passwords could be replaced, uncovering a clear path for innovation.

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