Is Mastercard Ditching the Card? Payments Giant Wants You To Wave and Smile To Pay

Biometric checkout system launched for easy payment in stores

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Mastercard Inc. has started to make payments quicker than ever as you will no longer have to take your phone out, tap or swipe your card whenever you want to pay and checkout for products bought in stores.

In a press statement, Mastercard recently launched its Biometric Checkout Program which brings facial and fingerprint recognition technology to the point-of-sale (POS).

This means you will no longer need to flash your card or show your phones when making payments as a quick smile or wave of your hand will instantly make payments for purchased items convenient.

“Using the trusted technology that uses your face or fingerprint to unlock your phone can now be used to help consumers speed through the checkout. With Mastercard’s new Biometric Checkout Program, all you will need is yourself,” said the company’s release.

The program lets consumers link their facial and fingerprint biometrics to a payment card using biometric recognition technology. Once enrolled in the system, customers can check out with their face or fingerprint with no cards or mobile phones necessary for every checkout in major retailers to mom-and-pop shops.

The biometric program also outlines a set of standards that banks, merchants, and technology providers adhere to, helping to ensure the security and privacy of personal data when people pay biometrically. It also aims to shorten payment lines, ensure hygiene and health distancing protocols during the pandemic,  and result in faster transactions as consumers can simply check the bill and smile into a camera or wave their hand over a reader to pay.

The first pilot will be launched this week in Brazil via Payface in several St Marche supermarkets in São Paulo. Using Payface’s technology consumers visiting these supermarkets are able to enroll their face and payment information using the Payface app, and once registered, they can simply smile to pay at the checkout without a card or mobile device. Mastercard also plans to roll out the new payment model in the Middle East and Asia.

According to the company’s data, around 74% of consumers have a positive attitude towards biometric technology worldwide, and the market for contactless biometrics technology is projected to reach $18.6 billion by 2026.

“The way we pay needs to keep pace with the way we live, work and do business, offering choice to consumers with the highest levels of security,” said Ajay Bhalla, president, Cyber & Intelligence at Mastercard.

“Our goal with this new program is to make shopping a great experience for consumers and merchants alike, providing the best of both security and convenience,” Bhalla said.

Mastercard is working with partners including NEC, Payface, Aurus, PaybyFace, PopID, and Fujitsu Limited to ensure the launch and scale of these types of new checkout capabilities around the globe.

“We’ve been developing Payface since 2018, with a mission to help transform the way people pay – improving the experience, without compromising on security,” said Eládio Isoppo, chief executive officer, Payface. “This partnership with Mastercard is a welcome step forward for us and will enable our technology to be used by more merchants and consumers, making shopping easier and bringing the joy of a smile to payments.”

Biometric Checkout follows a series of recent technologies, such as Shop Anywhere, Enhanced Contactless (ECOS), and Cloud Point of Sale, that have been rolled out to provide consumers and merchants with frictionless, adaptable, and secure in-store experiences.

Image source: mastercard.com
Image source: mastercard.com

Mastercard has long embraced biometrics as a secure means to authenticate identity, both in-store and online, by substituting the password with the person. People can purchase and pay using biometric-powered payment cards, devices, and wearables thanks to the endeavor, which is based on the EMV 3-D Secure standard. Biometrics have also been used to verify online shoppers’ identities via “selfie pay” and online, with essential standards like FIDO being used (Fast Identity Online).

The payments company is also assisting all stakeholders in maintaining the highest standards of security and privacy to protect consumers as this technology becomes more widely deployed in stores and merchants around the world. Mastercard’s data responsibility principles govern the Biometric Checkout Program, reiterating that consumers have the right to select how their personal data is shared and benefit from its use.


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JM Agreda
JM Agreda
JM Agreda is a freelance journalist for more than 12 years. He has published stories in various publications, research journals, and news websites. He mainly covers business, information technology, science, transportation, and politics.

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