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Making online payments with a selfie

By Alina Hardcastle

Remembering your credit card pin will soon be a thing of the past as MasterCard is allowing online shoppers to take a selfie to verify their identity when making payments.

Rolling out globally in 2017, with a phased approach beginning within a dozen markets in Europe, MasterCard’s division president for South Africa, Mark Elliott, said “In the physical world, at the point of sale, we have chip cards to protect consumers.  When it comes to online shopping, we use passwords to verify the consumer’s identity but passwords are a pain to remember. We are focusing on making the identity verification process simple by allowing users to authenticate themselves with who they are (biometrics), not what they may or may not remember (passwords).  Identity Check Mobile is just one layer of our multi-layered approach to payment security.”

If South African’s love for technology is anything to go by the new identification system may prove popular. According to the MasterCard Impact of Innovation study recently released during the 2016 Innovation Forum in Budapest , South Africans reported that 95% of its citizens use their smart phone more than any other device. Studies also found that 73% of those surveyed were ready to pay with their mobile phone.

Meanwhile, more than half of South African respondents said they would prefer to authenticate themselves with a finger print rather a PIN when paying with a bank card. Despite the low ratio that claimed to make use of biometric, more than two thirds considered this to be safer payment method.

The process

To pay vendors using Mastercard’s ‘selfie system’ take these easy steps:

  • Step 1: In general, after you enrol with your issuing bank to get the activation code, you can download the MasterCard Identity Check Mobile app.
  • Step 2: Once you’ve completed the above, you can shop at e-Commerce sites.
  • Step 3: When you click on “pay,” your phone will pop up a notice and a link to open the app.
  • Step 4: You then check the payment details and complete the verification through your face or fingerprint.

Despite there being no silver bullet to prevent security breaches or fraud, Elliot and his team vow to develop technologies to anticipate future threats and guard themselves against it.

In   “As more commerce moves online, organisations at every link in the chain must ensure they are properly equipped to withstand the threats of today’s cybercriminals because while payment technologies have never been safer, criminals have never been smarter. “

FNB Banking APP 5.0

While MasterCard’s payment updates will only be making its way to South Africa in 2017, FNB recently unveiled its latest version of FNB Banking app 5.0 which has “a range of digital firsts in Africa” including FNB Pay, Fingerprint ID, Secure Chat, Smart inContact, 1-touch Report Fraud, as well as the FNB Watch App. For more information, click here.


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