Amazon eyes selfie payments but starring role not guaranteed

Mobile Commerce Daily – Amazon joins a growing list of companies, including MasterCard and Alibaba, betting on facial recognition to appeal to young consumers and address security concerns for mobile payments, but whether the popularity of selfies can translate into commerce has yet to be proven.

Amazon has reportedly filed for a patent that would entail a phone or computer prompting the user to perform certain motions such as smiling or blinking to authenticate identity and complete a payment. The move points to the ongoing push for more streamline mobile commerce experiences, with four-digit passwords viewed as too cumbersome.

“With the rapid growth of many mobile device payment solutions – Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, etc. – the industry has seen an explosive growth in the utilization of fingerprint authentication to validate the owner of the card being used in the transaction,” said Ryan Grogman, vice president at Boston Retail Partners. “Facial recognition authentication, being branded as ‘selfie payments’ in the headlines, is another form of bio-authentication that will see some traction in the coming years.

“When Alibaba initially announced their entry into this solution space last year, there weren’t many details around how the technology would work, which led to questions around such scenarios as users holding photos to cameras to spoof the app or website into thinking the valid purchaser was completing the transaction,” he said.

“With MasterCard’s announcement last month, and certainly with the details contained within the patents filed by Amazon, we can start to see how these solutions will combat those potential concerns – in Amazon’s case, by having the purchaser perform certain live-action movements to complete the validation.”

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