Feature Story

Your body, your money: Payment security now via face and hands

by Stephanie Chan

Your body, your money: Payment security now via face and hands

See how companies like Sthaler and MasterCard want you to verify your identity for payments.

Digital cash is just one way physical technology is fading into the background—now companies are thinking of ways to make payments more seamless than ever. Mobile payments are already simple, but the biometrics wave wants to use your face and hands for payments opportunities.

MasterCard's "Selfie Pay", or its MasterCard Identity Check, has users show their face via the camera to confirm online payments on its app. This bypasses issues like people using a photo instead of a real face by having the person blink. This app also lets users authenticate through their fingerprints as well.

Startup Sthaler, a biometric identification and authentication service provider, uses "Fingopay"—a finger vein scan the company says cannot be forged, damaged, or stolen (like fingerprints can). This is accomplished through "Biometric VeinID", which builds a 3D map of finger veins. Sthaler claims the chance of two people having the same vein structure is 3.4 billion to 1.

See also: Credit card security courtesy of your body

With the cryptocurrency revolution, some are even taking to storing their cash in their bodies. CNBC reports that a Dutch bitcoin enthusiast named Martijn Wismeijer stores access to bitcoin in a chip inside his skin. The chip was placed in his hand in the area between the thumb and forefinger in a 10-millimeter space. Wismeijer says that this is a hassle-free way to store bitcoin because it can store a recovery password and is more difficult to hack than a digital wallet. Some may recall the Wisconsin company that implanted RFID chips into willing employees to make logging into computers, buying snacks, and opening doors, easier and quicker.

Biometric authentications like these seem to boast ease over everything else. Digital payments may be changing in other ways this year, as banks and credit unions try to move towards ease and away from cash. One trend in digital payment innovations is artificial intelligence providing a layer of security that is based on a deep understanding of consumer behavior.

AI is a new trend taking off in an effort to combat account fraud—and there are many threats consumers and retailers need to be aware of. Keep yourself up to date by reading "Why online retailers need to be on alert" here.

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