How Identity Check App works

The digital check identifies users by making use of the unique personal characteristics such as a “selfie photo” or fingerprints. The customer receives a pop-up on the mobile phone during the checkout in a web store, through which the payment can be authorized easily via finger scan or selfie recognition. This next generation of consumer authentication has been developed after recent research on online shopping by MasterCard. According to a MasterCard survey, 53 percent of shoppers forget crucial passwords more than once a week, losing more than 10 minutes when they reset their accounts

The President of Enterprise Risk & Security, Mastercard, Ajay Bhalla, said, “This is a significant milestone in the evolution of payments. Shopping in person has been revolutionized thanks to advances like contactless cards, mobile payments and wearables, and now we are making Identity Check Mobile a reality for online shopping in Europe, and soon, the world.”



The app has had mixed reactions from the young “selfie”-loving audience it has been targeted towards. Harry, 18, a film student at the University of Westminster who uses online shopping for groceries and Amazon, said, “It seems complicated. I would rather put my pin than take out my phone and be forced to tale a selfie.”

Ana Maria Caciula , an Advertisement and PR student said, “I wouldn’t mind trying it. It’s a bit weird but it seems funny”, adding that it “might be a problem for people whose phones don’t have a camera.”

But the mass generation of Big Data has raised some privacy concerns.The Director for Centre for Research into Information, Surveillance and Privacy (CRISP), Professor William Webster, responded to the news saying that the security of the process depended on the security of the phone used, as well as on the technology used by Mastercard. “Biometric information can be used only for identification or it might be used as a part of the profiling process. All computing on mobile phones applications typically share a lot of data amongst themselves, therefore the privacy policy of the app needs to be looked into. Profiling of purchases is a widespread tool used by marketing firms so that is one potential outcome that needs to be investigated.”

He also drew attention to the Investigatory Powers Bill which will force the storage of internet browsing records for 12 months and authorize the bulk collection of personal data. Prime Minister Theresa May has previously defended the controversial new surveillance powers in a debate against the MPs, saying that the measures were needed in order to keep the public safe. However, Webster asserts that there is no immediate concern with respect to government surveillance, compared to marketing companies,  when it comes to banking apps.

The Mastercard move came after research discovered that European consumers preferred biometric payments than passwords. The technology will be rolled across the world in phases in 2017.