MasterCard announced on Thursday that it’s looking to add a layer of biometric security to its credit cards and all user will need to do is simply take a selfie. The system will create a digitized map of your face, convert that map into a hash and compare it to the hash stored on Mastercard’s servers.
In the programme’s first phase, Nigerians aged 16 and older and all who have been resident there for more than two years will get the new multipurpose ID, which has 13 applications. It is expected that up to 13m Nigerians will use the product in the first phase.
Among the apps is MasterCard’s prepaid technology, which will give cardholders the ability to make electronic payments. MasterCard says this will also have a positive impact on Nigerians who until now have not had access to mainstream financial services.
This one bears keeping an eye on.
In a couple of pioneering cases, the very concept of “The ID” is shifting
To most people, an ID looks a lot like a product — something useful that the government sells to an individual. Pay your fee; get your card. Lose your card; buy a new one.
India and Nigeria (South Africa is pretty bold, too) are pointing the way toward a future where ID isn’t just a product, though no government is going to give up its ID card product line any time soon. The future as these countries see it is ID as a government-backed platform supporting an ID ecosystem. They have the bucket (database structure). Now it’s being filled (populated). If they get the application programming interface/s (API) right, fasten your seat belt. Things will get really interesting really fast as all sorts of apps hooking into the ID infrastructure become available. Biometric technologies will be an integral part of this transition to “BigID.”
One of these two articles talks about payments to the individual from a source of income, the other talks about payments from an individual to a retail establishment — in this case a convenience store. The organizations on both sides of the individual envision adopting biometric identity management techniques as a growing part of payment authentication.
“By supporting governments around the world with electronic payment programs we are helping save money and improve efficiencies, but more importantly, together we are opening up a world of inclusion for those who have previously not had access to traditional financial services,” said Tim Murphy, Chief Products Officer of MasterCard Worldwide.
SASSA recipients are now able to use debit cards, issued by Net1 and Grindrod Bank, to pay for goods and to check their account balances free of charge. A key feature of the card is biometric functionality used to identify grant recipients using unique identifiers such as fingerprints, facial and voice recognition to prevent stolen card usage. The new system is already dramatically reducing SASSA’s operating costs and is expected to save the government more than ZAR3 billion (USD 360 million) over the next five years.
Payment Systems & Automation In-store payment systems for the majority of c-store chains include credit and debit (96 percent), prepaid/stored value card (48.4 percent) and electronic benefits transfer (42.2 percent). Less popular are electronic check verification, used by 32.8 percent of chains and continuing to decrease in popularity every year, and radio frequency identification (RFID) or contactless cards, adopted by 17.2 percent. Also, only 3.1 percent report using self-checkout and just 1.6 percent say they have biometric payment technology.
However, when asked what technology c-store retailers plan to implement in the next one to three years, RFID/contactless tops the list, with 12.5 percent contemplating the technology, followed by self-checkout (10.9 percent) and biometric payment (10.9 percent).
I highly recommend the Convenience Store News article. It’s full of charts and tables and it really gives the reader an appreciation for the complexity and efficiency required in that market. In order to be convenient, the stores have to be small all other decisions flow from there.