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Mastercard Launching Pay with Face: how will this change the way we shop?

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Mastercard is launching this year globally a new technology that will let shoppers make payments with just their face or hand.

The company has started this week a pilot program in the U.S. for retailers to offer biometric payment methods, like facial recognition and fingerprint scanning. Besides the U.S., the program has already been implemented in five St Marche grocery stores in Brazil and Mastercard says it plans to roll it out globally later this year.

According to Ajay Bhalla, Mastercard’s President of Cyber and Intelligence, the vision of Mastercard is to make the tech “globally interoperable”. That once users submit their biometric data they will be able to make payments with it anywhere in the world.

This vision is also supported by a forecast from Juniper Research, which states that 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.

Biometric payments are also being tested out now by retail giant Amazon in the U.S.

How does it work?

Users of Mastercard will need to download an app on their smartphones where they will take a picture of their face or scan their fingertips. The biometric data taken will then be connected with the users’ credit card details.

Mastercard confirmed that they plan to integrate the feature with loyalty schemes and make it possible for users to get personalized recommendations based on previous purchases.

Preparing for the ‘Metaverse’

“What we are working towards is the metaverse,” Ajay Bhalla said in an interview to CNBC News.

Mastercard is looking into how biometric tools could one day help with the development of payments infrastructure for the “metaverse,”.

The company is experimenting with new technology that will allow users to select and buy items at a virtual store using nothing but their eyes. 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.

These products are still not developed but it gives us an idea of what to expect in the near future.


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