December 3, 2022

Leave your plastic at home — all you need to make purchases in a new pilot program from Mastercard is your face.

To buy something, simply smile or wave at a camera equipped with a biometric reader, according to the company, which touts the advantage of not having to pull out your pocketbook or phone to make payment. 

Mastercard’s “Biometric Checkout Program,” which uses the same kind of technology that allows Apple iPhone owners to unlock their devices with their face or fingerprints, is designed for use at retailers. Individuals who wish to test the technology must first enroll in the program in stores or through an app at home.

Merchants benefit from faster transaction times and shorter checkout lines, and the system is compatible with retailers’ loyalty programs, according to Mastercard. 

“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, president of cyber and intelligence at Mastercard, said in a statement. “Our goal with this new program is to make shopping a great experience for consumers and merchants alike, providing the best of both security and convenience.”


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The first Mastercard biometric pilot launches in Brazil this week in partnership with Payface, a digital payment system, and St Marche, a supermarket chain in São Paolo. Consumers at five participating supermarkets will be able to enroll through the Payface app. Additional trias will be rolled out in the Middle East and Asia.

Many retailers have adopted touchless payment technologies during the pandemic.

“The outbreak of COVID-19 was the key cause for the development and acceptance of contactless biometric technologies,” KBV Research, a market research company, said in a report. The firm estimates that the global market for contactless biometrics technology will reach $18.6 billion by 2026.

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