Amazon has entered the “pay-by-selfie” race. The Seattle-based e-commerce giant has filed for a patent that would enable mobile shoppers to authenticate themselves using the camera on their device, according to published reports. Amazon is not the first company to explore a mobile identity verification solution based on users taking a photo or video of their own face. Alibaba’s Jack Ma nearly a year ago demonstrated the Chinese company’s version the technology and MasterCard tested a similar solution last summer with a California credit union.
Until now, online retailers have relied mainly on the traditional username/password combination to ensure the faceless shoppers using their Websites, mobile sites and mobile apps to make purchases are who they represent themselves to be. In its filing, Amazon noted the security challenges inherent in easily-hacked passwords as well as the difficulty of entering information manually on the small screen of a mobile device.
Amazon’s patent would cover a solution that could authenticate a user’s face and ensure it was a living human being—rather than a photo used to spoof an identity—by reading information such as a blinking eye.
The company has not commented publicly on the patent, nor has it confirmed it is working on a solution. But, could the two biggest e-commerce retailers on the planet, along with one of the biggest credit-card brands in the world, be driving us toward “pay-by-selfie” soon? The race is on.
Authentication of all kinds has become one of the hottest topics in digital commerce. This year’s CNP Expo in May has multiple sessions focused specifically on best practices for validating the identity of e- and m-commerce consumers. Take a look at our entire agenda and register for the CNP Expo today.