MasterCard Pilots Selfie/Facial Recognition Payments in the Netherlands and US

August 19, 2015         By: Michael Cheng

MasterCard is moving into a new phase of testing for its facial recognition system. The global brand announced two separate pilot programs in the Netherlands and US.

In the European region, it is working with International Card Services (ICS) on a three-month trial composed of 750 ABN Amro credit card owners.

Arjan Bol, country manager MasterCard Netherlands, said, “Biometrical technology has been developed to improve both speed and safety of online payments. This test will prove exactly that. And what is easier – and more fun – than paying through a selfie or fingerprint?”

Individuals taking part in the pilot must download the official MasterCard app from the Apple Store or Google Play. The directions confirm that the feature will be available on both iOS and Android platforms.

After registering on the ICS website, participants will be provided with a special code that can be used to unlock the mobile biometrics feature. During checkout, users will be prompt to verify their identity via fingerprint scan or facial recognition.

In the US, testing is still in its very early stages. Participants in the closed environment pilot are required to make donations to Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals. Overseeing the program is First Tech Federal Credit Union.

“Our members are some of the most technologically focused consumers on the planet, and being an innovator in the payments security space is evidence of our strong desire to meet our members’ unique needs,” mentioned Greg Mitchell, CEO of First Tech.

In addition to MasterCard, Wells Fargo is testing similar systems for internal use. The banking institution plans to roll out the advanced biometrics feature to boost mobile corporate access. In Asia, Taiwan and China-based firms are looking into applying facial recognition options for ATMs.