Why taking a selfie is going to start costing you money as MasterCard brings "selfie pay", its facial recognition payment software, to the UK

Suzie Neuwirth
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Paying for your morning coffee could soon be this exciting (Source: Getty)
ow there's a less vain reason to take a selfie: MasterCard is bringing facial recognition payment services, dubbed "selfie pay", to the UK.

The company has already trialled the technology in pilot schemes in the US and Netherlands, ahead of a launch in 14 other countries this summer. (Rumours Kim Kardashian was the first person to sign up for the service are unsubstantiated...)

Using the new technology, consumers will be able to scan their fingerprints or take a selfie in order to verify their identity to make a payment. Hopefully the IT team has factored in a little wiggle room for bad hair days and hangovers.

Read more: The payment buzzwords to expect this year

Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise security solutions at MasterCard, told the Financial Times "consumers are really loving it". He also said that the group is testing voice and iris scanning.

The technology is part of a wider range of initiatives MasterCard is currently developing to stay ahead of the contactless payment curve. It is also trialling a bracelet that measures your heartbeat to verify transactions.

Banks, technology companies and mobile phone groups are all clamouring to develop new ways of identity verification. On Friday, HSBC unveiled plans to launch voice recognition and touch security services in the UK.

Read more: Virgin Money gets into the money transfer business

At Mobile World Congress, the major industry conference taking place in Barcelona this week, a number of telecoms companies, including Samsung, are expected to announce new or improved offerings. Samsung already has Samsung Pay, which is set to be rolled out in the UK later this year.

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