Mastercard and BMO move towards ‘selfie’ payments

Biometric app for commercial use available in the US and Canada

October 25, 2016
Purchasing B2B
Photo: Thinkstock

Photo: Thinkstock

LAS VEGAS—Mastercard has announced the North American rollout of Identity Check Mobile, a new payment technology application that uses biometrics, including fingerprint and facial recognition, to verify a cardholder’s identity.

BMO Financial Group (BMO) said it will be the first bank in the US and Canada to offer Identity Check Mobile to corporate customers starting in the first half of 2017.

The rollout follows a soft launch that Mastercard and BMO tested earlier this year. The post-soft launch survey of BMO biometric program participants found:

  • Three of every four (74 percent) of participants strongly agree that biometrics are easier to use than passwords.
  • Nine out of ten participants anticipate using biometrics for online payment security in the future.

“The pilot tested the potential of delivering greater security and convenience using biometric technology,” said Steve Pedersen, vice-president, head, North American corporate card products at BMO. “Our goals were to understand the attitudes and perceptions of our participants toward biometrics as an online payment security solution. After using Identity Check Mobile, our program participants gave strong reviews on biometric security and ease of use, especially as compared with passwords. We are looking forward to bringing this same experience to our clients in 2017.

Existing BMO commercial customers who opt-in to using Identity Check Mobile will use an app provided by BMO and Mastercard to verify their online purchases. While shopping the cardholder will be notified instantly by the app when he or she needs to verify an online purchase by swiping a fingerprint or snapping a selfie photo.

Often, existing identity verification methods take shoppers away from a retailer’s website or mobile app where a password is required. The process can be time consuming and can result in a shopper abandoning the purchase or having the transaction declined if the password is incorrect.

Mastercard Identity Check Mobile minimizes the need for passwords, said BMO, speeding the digital checkout process while improving security. A cardholder can verify his or her identity by using the fingerprint scanner or facial recognition technology (taking a selfie photo) on a smartphone with the Identity Check app.

North American availability of Identity Check Mobile follows the European rollout across 12 markets, including: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Hungary, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden and the U.K. The technology will continue to be made available globally throughout 2017.