Mastercard customers will soon be able to make payments with just their fingerprints or their face, the credit card firm announced Tuesday.
A new biometric payment system, which is being piloted in Brazil this week, will allow customers to pay by waving their hand over a reader or smiling into a camera at checkout, without the need for a card or a mobile telephone, the company said. It hopes to eventually roll out the program globally, in stores of all sizes, a Mastercard spokesperson told Insider.
Mastercard said the benefits of the technology include faster transaction times, better security, and – in a nod to the post-pandemic environment – a more hygienic process.
It comes as the market for contactless biometric technology is set to reach $18.6 billion by 2026, according to data from KBV Research. Mastercard's program follows similar moves by rivals like Visa and Amazon who are developing their own biometric systems.
"The way we pay needs to keep pace with the way we live, work and do business, offering choice to consumers with the highest levels of security," Ajay Bhalla, Mastercard's president of cyber and intelligence, said in a statement.
According to data from Dentsu Data Lab cited by Mastercard, 74% of people surveyed in 14 countries hold a positive attitude toward the technology. Facial recognition systems, however, have raised concerns over privacy and safety. Some US retailers have used biometric payment systems in recent years at a small scale, the Financial Times reported, but are yet to be widely adopted.
Bhalla told CNBC that the system could one day also facilitate a payments system for the metaverse. In April, the company filed 15 NFT- and metaverse-related trademark filings which included trademarks for virtual cards and payments in the metaverse.
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