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Mastercard rolls out biometric authentication app

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Mastercard rolls out biometric authentication app

October 2016

Mastercard has confirmed the European launch of its new biometric authentication app, Identity Check Mobile, which allows users to make payments safely and securely using biometrics to verify their identity. 

The new technology, which is described as a 'payment technology application', is to be rolled out across 12 European markets: the UK, Belgium, Austria, Denmark, Czech Republic, Finland, Hungary, the Netherlands, Germany, Norway, Spain and Sweden.

The rollout - which will be expanded to cover the whole world in 2017 - follows a series of successful trials that have been carried out recently across the US, Canada and the Netherlands.

Identity Check Mobile will make use of biometrics such as facial recognition or fingerprints in order to confirm that a cardholder is who they say they are. Traditionally, identity verification methods already in existence take online shoppers to another website or mobile app where they often have to create and remember a password. If users enter the wrong password, the transaction can be declined and the entire process is often far more time consuming than people would like.

According to Mastercard, Identity Check Mobile takes away the need for users to create and use passwords, therefore making the entire shopping process far simpler and faster, while also boosting security. The user is then able to prove their identity online at the point of purchase by making use of the fingerprint scanner on their smartphone or by using the facial recognition technology by taking a ‘selfie' on their phones.

Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise risk & security at Mastercard, said: "We are relentlessly focused on making the online payment experience near frictionless, without making any compromises on safety and security. This is a significant milestone in the evolution of payments.

"Shopping in person has been revolutionised thanks to advances like contactless cards, mobile payments and wearables, and now we are making Identity Check Mobile a reality for online shopping in Europe, and soon, the world," Mr Bhalla went on to say.

Mastercard has created and introduced the Identity Check Mobile service following extensive trials and related research which revealed that consumers based across Europe much prefer biometric payments to the existing systems that make use of passwords.

When asked what it planned to do with the biometrics it collected, a Mastercard spokesperson told TechCrunch: “As an industry, we are moving toward storing biometrics in all instances at the device level. Fingerprints are stored at the device level and we are currently prototyping facial recognition to be converted and stored as encrypted code on some devices.

“This is why we have been on the board of FIDO (Fast Identity Online), whose goal is to always match and store the biometric on the device. MasterCard is investing in this technology and is leading the payments industry in developing decentralised solutions wherever possible.

“Biometric data is used only for the purpose for which we collect it — to verify the identity of an individual. We may use the results of the use of the data, such as the number of approvals or declines to improve the product.”

Ploughshare has significant video face recognition developments and is looking for interested parties to license the technology

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