Mastercard pilots biometric checkout technology

Mastercard is enabling facial and palm-based checkout.

Mastercard is joining the ranks of tech giants such as Amazon, Apple, and WeChat.

The global payments technology company is launching a new “Biometric Checkout Program.” The program is designed to be a set of standards that banks, retailers, and technology providers can use to provide secure biometric payments.  

Retailers participating in Mastercard’s Biometric Checkout Program offer consumers the option to enroll into their biometric checkout services, in store or at home, through a retailer or identity provider app. Once enrolled, customers can smile into a camera or wave their hand over a reader to pay. The new biometric payments system can be integrated with loyalty programs and personalized recommendations based on previous purchases.

Mastercard is working with global partners including NEC, Payface, Aurus, PaybyFace, PopID, and Fujitsu Limited. All participants adhere to an overarching framework of minimum standards, specifications and guidelines that address security, biometric performance level, and data protection for in-store biometric payments.

The first Biometric Checkout Program pilot will launch the week of May 17 in Brazil, with biometric payment technology provider Payface and supermarket retailer St Marche. The pilot will see Payface’s technology implemented across five St Marche supermarkets in São Paulo.

Consumers visiting these supermarkets will be able to enroll their face and payment information through the Payface app, and once registered, they can smile to pay at the checkout without a card or mobile device. Future pilots are being planned for rollout in the Middle East and Asia.

This effort, which builds on the EMV 3-D Secure standard, enables people to shop and pay through biometric-powered payment cards, devices and wearables. The Biometric Checkout Program follows Mastercard’s principles for data responsibility, which provide consumers the right to control how their personal data is shared and benefit from its use.

In the footsteps of (tech) giants
Mastercard is not the first tech company to roll out some type of biometric payment solution. Amazon has deploying its proprietary Amazon One palm-based payment technology, both internally and with third-party retail partners, since fall 2020. Amazon One is designed to let customers use their unique palm signature to pay or present a loyalty card at a store, as well as perform activities like enter a stadium or badge into work. The solution uses custom-built algorithms and hardware to create a person’s unique palm signature.

In addition, the Apple Card authorizes every purchase with facial recognition or biometric touch, as well as a one-time unique dynamic security code.

And payment gateway SnapPay Inc., which enables North American merchants to accept digital payments from Chinese mobile platforms AliPay and WeChat, uses technology based on facial recognition platforms available in Asia to enable consumers to digitally pay with a qualified digital snapshot during the checkout process.

“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.”

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