Mastercard plans online biometric authentication in Europe by early 2019

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Mastercard plans to deploy its biometric authentication option for European consumers to use through their smartphones when shopping online or conducting mobile banking.

Starting in April of 2019, Mastercard says its Mastercard Identity Check — known casually as "selfie pay" — will allow users to authorize transactions through fingerprints, iris or facial recognition at e-commerce checkout when paying with a Mastercard payment card.

Mastercard Identity Check is already available in 37 countries, and Mastercard says the new European Union regulatory requirements on authentication coming into force through PSD2 state that banks across the continent must offer the biometric option by early 2019.

"Biometric technologies perfectly match consumers’ expectations of getting the secure payment solutions of tomorrow, in line with the increased digitalization of lifestyles," Javier Perez, president of Mastercard Europe, said in a Tuesday press release. "This can significantly benefit consumers, retailers and banks by improving the purchase experience and better securing the transaction."

With smartphones now near ubiquitous, the vast majority of consumers and banks are eager to ditch passwords in favor of biometric authentication, recent Mastercard research confirmed.

Mastercard and Oxford University conducted studies last year that found 93% of consumers prefer using their fingerprints or faces over passwords for validating payments, while 92% of bankers also want to adopt biometrics.

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