The selfie is a cultural staple of this generation. Go ahead and roll your eyes, but it is true. It is the self-portrait version of photography. The method is great for capturing your own image, particularly via smartphone, when you are on the go. MasterCard, however, is planning on taking it to a more serious level. As of this summer, its new security system, “selfie pay,” will, ideally, be launched in 15 countries.
What is selfie pay, you may ask? Well, in short, it means a selfie stands as your passcode for using your credit card through the MasterCard app. According to CBS News, once the app is downloaded, you take a selfie, the company stores it in its servers and every time you want to complete a transaction, you will need to look into your phone’s camera to make sure your image matches the selfie that was previously stored. I mean, who needs letters, numbers or even a thumbprint for a password when you can just smile for the camera?
See, here is my issue. Call me crazy, but I do not exactly want someone knowing that I am logging into my credit card account. If I am logging into it through an app, there is a good chance that I am out in public. I would not exactly feel comfortable logging in via a selfie, though, because holding up my phone and posing could make an obvious statement to the opportunistic stranger standing next to me that screams, “Hey! The card that is linked to all my money is right here, wide open! Come and get it!”
Moreover, how would I be able to trust that the camera is accurate? If I wore no makeup in the original selfie, and happened to be dressed up one day when I needed to log in, or if I dyed my hair, would it recognize my image? Or what if someone who looks like me were to get ahold of my phone? Would she be able to log in? There is just something a little too sketchy and unreliable about this system, if you ask me.
Aside from safety reasons, however, I cannot get myself on board with selfie pay because, frankly, I do not want to have to take a selfie in public. I will be the first to admit that I never thought the selfie would take off. I remember laughing at the term, thinking it was catchy but nothing more than a passing phase. While I have clearly been wrong about that, I am still reluctant to take a selfie, especially when alone, in public. I try to do it as discreetly as possible, if at all. More than anything, though, it is too big of an inconvenience. If I am going to need to use my hands to scroll through the MasterCard app anyway, what is the point of not typing in a password?
I get that MasterCard is probably trying to keep its identity authentication systems relevant, but selfie pay is just not the way to go. Selfies can stay, but let them be saved for Snapchat or other social purposes. Nothing more. Thanks, but no thanks, MasterCard. I think I’ll happily just stick to my 14-character password.