MasterCard to bring facial recognition payment software to Canada

Starting this summer, Canadian MasterCard holders with smartphones will be able to pay for their online purchases by taking a selfie or stamping their fingerprint on the screen instead of punching in a pin or a password.

Biometric payments using fingerprints, voice or facial features called more secure than passwords

New technology from MasterCard could soon allow Canadian users to authorize payments by taking a picture of themselves with their smartphone. (Aaron Favila/Associated Press)

Starting this summer, Canadian MasterCard holders with smartphones will be able to pay for their online purchases by taking a selfie or stamping their fingerprint on the screen instead of punching in a pin or a password.

The payment card company says it plans to roll out the technology in Canada, after successful pilot programs in the U.S. and the Netherlands.

MasterCard says biometric payments — which use characteristics such as fingerprints, voice or facial features to identify users — are more convenient and secure than passwords.

During the pilot project, participants in the Netherlands were required to download an app to use the technology.

The Dutch system was able to prove whether or not a user was in fact a real live person and not just a picture of them by requiring the person to blink while the photo was being taken.

"We are now examining the possibilities to integrate our technology in the banking and tech giants' apps to make payment using a selfie or fingerprint even easier," MasterCard Netherlands country manager Arjan Bol said in a release.

Other technology companies such as Apple and Samsung already have facial recognition technology built in to their devices to allow users to access certain services. But MasterCard's plan is among the first to make the leap to using the technology to approve payments.

British bank HSBC plans to roll out a similar program that will allow customers to access their accounts and process transactions via facial, fingerprint and even voice recognition.

Details surrounding the Canadian iteration of the service are not yet available.

With files from The Canadian Press

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