Amazon Files Patent So Users Can 'Pay by Selfie' | NECN

Amazon Files Patent So Users Can 'Pay by Selfie'

The process requires consumers to face a camera or sensor which can tell the user's identity and that he or she is alive

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    Amazon has filed for a patent to allow customers to pay by taking a photo or video of themselves. (Published Wednesday, March 16, 2016)

    The days of trying to remember your account password to make online purchases may well be a thing of the past, at least for Amazon customers. The online retailer has filed a patent to allow consumers to "pay by selfie."

    The new user authentication payment process allows users to take a picture of themselves as proof of payment. But, it's slightly more complex than snap and spend.

    The process requires consumers to face a camera or sensor which can tell the user's identity and that he or she is alive. This prevents photos from being used to trick the system.

    Once the user is processed by the facial recognition system, "the device prompts the user to perform an action to confirm the transaction" such as blinking one eye.

    Amazon's interest in creating the software is namely for security purposes, with the company noting that "conventional approaches" that rely on passwords for authentication can be stolen and used by impersonators.

    Plus, passwords are inconvenient since "entry of these passwords on portable devices is not user friendly in many cases, as the small touchscreen or keyboard elements can be difficult to accurately select using a relatively large human finger" the company wrote in the patent. This can result in users relying on friends or co-workers when entering their password, something that "can be awkward or embarrassing in many situations."

    Amazon has not yet responded to a request for comment from NBC.

    MasterCard is also making strides with new payment technologies, USA Today reported.

    The company has been conducting tests for biometric payment authentication which allows MasterCard users to pay by fingerprint or facial recognition. The payment company said the new payment system has been well received in the Netherlands and is slated to launch in the United States, Canada, and parts of Europe in summer 2016.