The world of mobile payments has taken off massively this year, as Android Pay and Samsung Pay move in to more markets, and more and more banks and card issuers come onboard. One of the major players in plastic payments has always been MasterCard, and while many a bank all over the world relies on them for their own debit and credit cards, the firm is looking to get a slice of the mobile payments pie for themselves. There are lots of independent MasterCard apps available in the Play Store, and with these come new features to offer more secure payment methods online, such as "Identity Check", which is colloquially named selfie pay, as the app allows users to use their face in order to authenticate a purchase. The app became available in North America earlier this year, and now it's rolling out to Europe.
MasterCard Identity Check is an Android app you can download and use to authenticate purchases online using either your fingerprint – if your device has a reader, of course – or a picture of yourself. The app is rolling out to the UK, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Sweden. The app requires users to download and install it – which users can do from the Play Store button below – and then set it up with a picture of themselves or a fingerprint. To prevent the use of photographs and such being held up, the app requires users to blink in order to verify that they're in fact a human. For MasterCard, the Identity Check is an app that offers the right blend between convenience and security. Whether or not this sort of thing will catch on remains to be seen, but it's nice that MasterCard is joining the ever-growing club to help get rid of the password.
As for what happens to your fingerprint and facial recognition data, MasterCard didn't have much to tell TechCrunch when they asked, merely saying that fingerprints were stored on devices only, and that they were "currently prototyping facial recognition to be converted and stored as encrypted code on some devices". That might not be all that reassuring to some of you, but at least the fingerprint side of things seems to be pretty solid, at least for now, anyway.