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Pay-By-Selfie? Amazon files patent for new payment system

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The rise of the selfie appears unstoppable. The online retailer Amazon first patented one-click purchasing; now they have gone one step further by submitting a patent application for payments by selfies.

The patent application shows that while many approaches rely on a password to be entered for user authentication, these passwords can be taken or exposed by others who can then impersonate the user in various scenarios.

The process will allow shoppers to purchase by taking a photo or video of themselves instead of typing in their password, making it easier, safer and more user-friendly.

Under the scenario in the patent application, a device can prompt the user to perform certain movements or gestures, such as to smile, blink or to tilt their head. This would be done to prove that the customer is who he or she says, rather than a fraud simply holding up a photograph.

Amazon isn’t the only one launching a pay-by-selfie system. MasterCard is rolling out a photo-based payment technology too, where they will begin accepting selfies when verifying online payments, as an alternative to passwords. MasterCard has been testing the selfie software which has showed 92% of participants preferred the new photo-based system to passwords.

Google is also testing a new app named “Hands Free” that lets users pay with smartphones without having to get them out of their pockets. With this, an in-store camera automatically authorizes your identity based on your personal Hands Free profile picture.

If it proves popular amongst the selfie generation, it may spread to the wider population. Until then, don’t ditch wallet and purse just yet.

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