Mastercard's online payment verification to uses selfies for identification

In its attempt to make online payments faster and more secure with biometric identification, Mastercard is said to be planning to introduce a new pilot programme to help shoppers authorise a payment with a selfie instead of a password.

The feature will form part of MasterCard's Identity Check app, which will push a notification to the user's phone, asking for verification of a transaction they had initiated.

Users can then tap to pay, align their face in the circle drawn in the app and then blink to click a selfie (to let the app know it was a photo being clicked in real time).

The process then cross-references the snap with a selfie clicked by users within the app at the time they enrolled, using facial recognition software. Once that is matched, the transaction is completed.

Master card expects users to be happy with the new technology as it cuts the number of passwords they need to memorise, and offering close to the same convenience as saving their passwords to a digital wallet, while still ensuring the passwords could not be obtained by hackers.

Meanwhile, ''Security and convenience are sort of at the opposite ends of each other,'' said facial recognition expert Gifford Hesketh, CBS reported.

Hesketh, from the facial recognition technology company FaceFirst, said the technology was not good for high security applications.

''It might look like me sometimes, it might not look like me sometimes,'' he said. ''If I'm looking at the camera now, I can tilt my chin up or tilt my chin down and I look like two completely different people.''

According to MasterCard, the selfie payment option appealed to millennials and cut out the need to remember a password.

The app also allows the user to choose their face or their fingerprint.

Further, MasterCard was also working with a Canadian firm to develop technology that would approve transactions by recognising a person's unique heartbeat.