Why Australians can’t use selfies for credit card security just yet

Sally McMullen 24 February 2016

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MasterCard has launched selfie security payment technology in the US and Europe, but when can we expect it down under?

It’s official: selfies have infiltrated every part of modern life. MasterCard has launched a new biometric authentication system that allows cardholders to submit a selfie or fingerprint to secure payments. The new technology will replace the PIN in the hopes that it’ll be harder for hackers to infiltrate.

How does it work?

After partnering with the First Tech Federal Credit Union fora successful pilot period in the US in 2015, MasterCard is rolling out the new security measures in the US and around Europe later this year. If they want to try out selfie security, MasterCard holders will need to download the MasterCard smartphone app first. Once they’ve reached the register or online checkout, they’ll be asked to either snap a selfie or swipe their fingerprint to approve the payment. To avoid hackers submitting stolen photos to complete payments, cardholders will be required to open the camera and blink as the photo is being taken.

Other companies, such as Apple and Samsung, have already implemented facial recognition technology for other services but MasterCard will be the first to use it for payment approval. As well as facial technology, MasterCard is trialling other biometric payment technologies such as voice and heartbeat recognition.

When will selfie security come to Australia?

While MasterCard has made plans to implement selfie security in the States, Canada, the UK and a number of other European countries, there are no plans to bring it down under as of yet. Banjo Loans is one provider that has jumped on the selfie bandwagon, though, requiring applicants to submit a photo as part of the identity verification process during the application. Unfortunately, that’s about as close as finances and selfies get in Australia at the moment.

However, considering contactless payments currently make up 60% of Australian transactions, we predict that it won’t be long until we get a chance to snap selfies to approve payments. In the mean time, Aussie credit cardholders can avoid entering their PIN to enjoy more secure and convenient payments courtesy of PayWave, PayPass, Apple Pay and Samsung Pay.

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