Spotlight on Visa’s New Security Selfie Tech

Do you have a smartphone? Do you shop online? Can you take a selfie? If you answered yes, then the new facial recognition tech from Visa is going to be in your near future. Check it out!

Smartphones are pretty smart. Even though WiFi hacks can cripple them, they help us do a lot more than we realize. More than 50% of internet usage comes from mobile devices. Social media has billions of daily active users, and online shopping is preferred by more than half of Americans. And now, new technology will allow safer and more secure transactions, thanks to smartphones and their cameras.

You probably see at least a few selfies every day, posted on Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram. Now your bank could be asking for one to confirm online purchases or approve credit card applications. This new technology is being pushed by Visa, one of the biggest payment card processing companies in the world.

Online purchasing already has a few ways to authenticate and verify a purchaser’s identity. Apple’s TouchID and the Samsung equivalent both require a fingerprint scan before making a payment. Some newer phones allow facial recognition to verify identities for payment as well. Now, Visa is going to use that same technology to make sure you are who you say you are.

Selfies could help identify cardholders. When submitting a new credit card application, or processing a payment, Visa’s facial recognition could process the image and determine your identity. (Don’t think you can cheat with an uploaded picture, either. you have to blink for it to work.) reported on this story and interviewed Mark Nelsen, Senior VP for Visa’s Risk and Authentication Products division. In the interview, Nelsen commented on how important identity verification is for all financial institutions, big and small.

“Financial companies are particularly interested in biometrics, not surprisingly, as mostly a fraud protection measure. While a birthdate, Social Security number or last name can be more easily stolen or mimicked — as anyone who has been a victim of identity fraud will tell you — it’s much harder to fraudulently mimic a person’s face, fingerprint or voice.

“A bank’s traditional defense against stolen personal data has been a customer creating a password or four-digit personal identification number. But few people change their passwords regularly or often use the same password for multiple sites, so if it’s stolen from one location, multiple other locations can become impacted.”

Though costly, the technology could greatly reduce fraud in online transactions. This announcement comes at a time when cyber security for your personal information is critical, since 143 million Social Security numbers were stolen from Equifax recently, and could be used now or in 20 years to steal your identity.

Many smaller banks and financial institutions can’t afford to build their own infrastructure to maintain facial recognition for their clients. This could adversely affect their business, as they could not guarantee the same security as other, bigger banks like Citigroup, Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, and others could. Now, with the help of Visa, these smaller banks could simply install these security measures in their own app, instead of having to build it themselves. We are now a step closer to being more secure. Thanks, Visa.