June 28, 2022

Mastercard tech that lets you pay with your face or hand in stores

Mastercard’s biometric checkout technology lets users pay by scanning their face or palm.

Mastercard

Mastercard is piloting new technology that lets shoppers make payments with just their face or hand at the checkout point.

The company on Tuesday launched a program for retailers to offer biometric payment methods, like facial recognition and fingerprint scanning. At checkout, users will be able to authenticate their payment by showing their face or the palm of their hand instead of swiping their card.

The program has already gone live in five St Marche grocery stores in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Mastercard says it plans to roll it out globally later this year.

“All the research that we’ve done has told us that consumers love biometrics,” Ajay Bhalla, Mastercard’s president of cyber and intelligence, told CNBC.

“They want making a payment at a store to be as convenient as opening their phone.”

About 1.4 billion people are expected to use facial recognition technology to authenticate a payment by 2025, more than doubling from 671 million in 2020, according to a forecast from Juniper Research.

How does it work?

Is it safe?

Preparing for the ‘metaverse’

At a media briefing in London, Mastercard showed off an augmented reality headset that warns the wearer if they’re on a potentially fraudulent e-commerce site. Another feature the firm is experimenting with allows users to select and buy items at a virtual store using nothing but their eyes.

These products are farther from reality than Mastercard’s biometric checkout service, but give a flavor of what to expect in the future.

Bhalla said people could eventually try on some clothes virtually before buying, or link their non-fungible tokens — digital assets that record ownership of a virtual item on the blockchain — with their biometric identity.