Mastercard continues selfie payment authentication roll-out

Mastercard has launched its biometric payment capability in Latin America, with the Brazilian and Mexican markets now able to authenticate payment via fingerprint and taking a selfie.

The unveiling of the card company's Identity Check Mobile in these new territories comes after recent launches in the UK, Europe and North America. The technology was originally trialled in the Netherlands, the US and Canada, with Mastercard concluding consumers prefer biometrics payments over the current password-based systems.

According to the payments business, the technology eliminates the need to remember passwords to confirm online payments, while at the same time improving the security in these transactions.

Cardholders can verify their identity using the fingerprint scanner or via facial recognition technology by taking a selfie photo on their smartphone.

Ajay Bhalla, president of enterprise risk & security at Mastercard, commented: "We are focusing our efforts on simplifying the online payment experience, without compromising security.

"We find ourselves before a milestone in payments' evolution. Following the revolution in physical purchases with innovations like chip technology, contactless payments, and wearables, we are now making identity check a reality for online purchases in Latin America after earlier rollouts this year in the US and Europe."

Consumer claim against Mastercard

It was announced last week that the £14 billion UK consumer claim against Mastercard will proceed to a hearing on 18 January 2017 with a specialist Tribunal set to decide whether the case can proceed as a collective action.

The proposed consumer representative behind the action, Walter Merricks, has also launched a website giving consumers all the latest information regarding the case such as upcoming important dates, the full claim form and other key legal documents.

Merricks is the former financial services ombudsman, and he is bringing the claim against Mastercard on behalf of UK consumers relating to the alleged charging of excessive interchange fees between 1992 and 2008. Mastercard has already been found by the European Commission to have charged unlawful cross-border interchange fees during this period, but Merricks claims the fees were passed on by retailers in the form of increased retail prices charged to shoppers.

In July Mastercard was ordered to pay supermarket group Sainsbury's £68.6 million plus interest after a UK Competition Appeal Tribunal ruled that historic interchange fees charged to the retailer were too high.

The Sainsbury's case is one of multiple claims filed by retailers against Mastercard and Visa in the UK relating to alleged over-excessive fees and anti-competitive practices.

If the latest claim is successful, all UK consumers who made purchases in the relevant period – and not just Mastercard holders – will be eligible for compensation.

Merricks claimed that Mastercard undertook "one of the most damaging instances of illegal profiteering" he has come across.

"This case should send a signal to companies that infringe competition law at the expense of UK consumers that they do so at their financial peril," he added.

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