Pay Via Selfie? Now Available In Latin America

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After fruitful trials in the U.S., Canada and the Netherlands, as well as a larger launch in Europe this year, Mastercard is now unveiling Identity Check Mobile to Latin America. The first two countries in the region to receive it are Brazil and Mexico.

The concept is similar to a “selfie” and thus is being dubbed “selfie pay.”

Identity Check Mobile, which is a payment app using facial recognition to confirm the user’s identity authorize purchase, is anticipated to have success with both eCommerce and smartphone use, according to analysts. Smartphone penetration in Latin America was about 32 percent in 2014 and is expected to grow to nearly 70 percent by 2020. Hand in hand, as more people have smartphones, eCommerce transactions will also rise. Mastercard recently released that Brazil and Mexico are the two largest online retail markets in the region, creating more than half of the total sales.

Because of the increase in smartphones and eCommerce, analysts also predict a rise in fraud attempts. Password, PINs and the memory needed for those have become issues for many users, which is a driver for the increased biometric technology. And, as a result, experts say Mastercard’s Identity Check Mobile technology becomes attractive to the market for both users and merchants.

“We are focusing our efforts on simplifying the online payment experience, without compromising security,” said Ajay Bhalla, president of Enterprise Risk & Security at Mastercard, in a release. “We find ourselves before a milestone in payments’ evolution. Following the revolution in physical purchases with innovations like chip technology, contactless payments and wearables, we are now making Identity Check a reality for online purchases in Latin America after earlier rollouts this year in the U.S. and Europe.”

BI Intelligence recently released a report on the future of biometric data, projecting that by 2021, nearly 99 percent of American smartphones will have some kind of biometric enhancement related to identity and security measures. The idea is that hackers will be warded off with uniquely personal data that only the user has.