Technology that was once only seen on the silver screen is now commonplace on a mobile phone, sitting in your back pocket. Both Android and iOS mobiles have biometric capabilities, and 2017 was the year that MasterCard latest digital innovation saw fit to put this cutting-edge technology to good use and end the bane of the digital age: trying to remember passwords.
With identity theft and hacking so common in online retail, consumers are continually told to choose unique passwords and to change them constantly. But problems can arise when they are not remembered.
As eCommerce flourishes, smooth functioning of the payment method is vital to facilitate continued growth. It must be secure, simple, and efficient. MasterCard’s innovative approach has been to use facial recognition.
I Know that Face
Consumers do not like having to click on a box to prove they’re not a robot. Considering the popularity of social media, we can be fairly sure that most people like taking selfies.
After a year or so in testing, MasterCard Identity Check was rolled out in the UK. To make a payment via your mobile phone, MasterCard Identity Check will require you to look into your phone’s camera and blink, when asked. This blinking ensures that the face the app is assessing isn’t simply a photo but a real, living person. That’s it, a real digital innovation.
For clients who would rather not show their face, a fingerprint recognition option is also available.
Smile, you’re on Camera
MasterCard understandably believes that with the popularity of social media, selfie-certification will be a popular feature of the Identity Check app. Considering the fact that 64% of British adults are “active social media users”, this suggestion appears a safe bet.
But MasterCard won’t only be able to see consumer’s happy faces when they make a purchase. MasterCard will also have a valuable source of data regarding the purchase and its buyer; where they are, which goods have been bought and where they are going, as well as basic information such as the user’s age and gender. This could be a valuable resource for the company, and one that may be used to open up an alternate revenue stream.
Potential advancements in facial technology innovation also offer interesting areas to consider for MasterCard. For example, if technology can track a face and understand the emotion shown, could it offer potential purchases as a reaction? If a mobile phone’s camera sees that a face is crying, could it suggest buying a box of tissues?
Here to Stay
Though biometric technologies in mobile phones have been a source of concern for some, the success of facial recognition for mobile manufacturers like appears to be normalizing the technology’s use. With reports that MasterCard is working on heartbeat recognition for smartwatches, the Identity Check’s innovation seems to have proven a hit.
Digital Retail Innovations Report
Take a look at the other 49 top innovations from the UK & Ireland in The Retail Insider Digital Retail Innovations report, it highlights some of the most interesting technological developments which are taking place in the retail sector.