Mastercard to launch Selfie Pay in Australia in 2017

Sally McMullen 3 February 2017

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Strike a pose! Aussies will be able to pay with Mastercard Selfie Pay later this year.

In 2016, we reported that banks in the US and Europe had adopted selfie security payment technology but none of the major Aussie banks had made plans to do so. This is about to change, though, as Mastercard prepares to launch its biometric authentication app down under.

The credit card heavyweight unveiled the details of Mastercard Identity Check (or “Selfie Pay”) at the Australian Open, but launch dates are yet to be confirmed. Available through a Mastercard smartphone app, it will use biometrics and facial recognition technology to verify your identity and approve payments. So you’ll have the option of using either your fingerprint or a selfie to make purchases at the checkout.

If you’re shopping online, the Mastercard app will send you a notification asking you to authenticate the payment with your selfie or fingerprint. At this point, Mastercard has confirmed that the app will be available for Apple, Android and Windows Phone devices. Mastercard will also offer an API to allow financial institutions to incorporate these features into their own banking apps.

Rather than replacing your PIN or phone passcode altogether, though, Selfie Pay will be another layer of security that you can use in addition to your usual modes of authentication. Mastercard users won’t be forced to use the technology, though. So, unlike the Mastercard PayPass, you’ll have to download the app and opt into the service to use it.

As an extra layer of security, the app will be linked to your specific handset and can’t be accessed from any other smartphone. Mastercard also doesn’t store your fingerprint or photo. Instead, the app analyses the face or fingerprint scan and uses an algorithm to create an encrypted code they have on file. The app examines 72 points when examining your face and you’re required to blink to show you’re not trying to use a photograph.

While some cardholders have concerns about security and whether or not this technology will actually increase or decrease our time at the checkout, we won’t know exactly how it will work until the launch.

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