“Wipe your face and pay.” For Mastercard in the future, you will be the card with which to pay


We will be the future of payment. Or at least one part of our bodies. Maybe a face, or maybe a handprint. In the future, who knows, there is another equally recognizable part. However, the point is that biometrics will become increasingly central to both online and offline payment methods, to the point of “Paradoxically, you may not have the card anymore”, according to Danilo Arosio, Director of Products and Solutions at Mastercard, who gave an interview to DDAY.it during the Salone dei Pagamenti.

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The method is not new: for MasterCard it is already a reality in some regions of the world. The initiative, called “Smile to Pay” (literally “smile to pay”), requires the user to connect their face to a payment system, so that in stores and online a payment card is not required to insert a payment card, but only authenticate yourself to your face. or with a fingerprint. Just like biometrics are increasingly used to unlock a device in place of a digital PIN or to confirm payment through systems like Google Pay or Apple Pay.

However, Mastercard’s Smile to Pay goes further: the user doesn’t even need to have any device with them because, in effect, you can walk into a store and the camera can recognize your face to confirm payment.

This is one of the possible directions for the future of electronic payments, i.e. “Something more biometric, where ironically you don’t have a card anymore and you use something of your own to pay, even a fingerprint,” According to Arosio.


In this case, the problem could shift to another front: confidence in the way this sensitive data is protected. At the time of the announcement of Smile to Pay, Mastercard confirmed that 74% of consumers had a positive attitude towards biometrics, according to a survey conducted by Idemia, a company that deals with biometric technologies.


Facial recognition – which has often proven to be a technology with serious limitations and in Italy a privacy guarantor has been imposed as a condition of using body cameras provided by police forces that are not used for facial recognition – is crucial. A sensitive subject as it is often at the center of discussions regarding the breach of privacy and how this data is stored and protected.


Commenting on May’s announcement to the newspaper, barrister Susie Miles noted:The password can be changed, but the password or hand-waving cannot be changed. If biometric data is stolen, the risk of fraudulent activity can be much higher than with existing payment methods“.


According to Arrosio, to manage this aspect “Entities will be created. They can also be banks, of course, but they must respond to certain characteristics in order to retain data by complying with regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).“.

Banca Sella experiments with a biometric credit card

However, biometrics is a cross-sectional component of the sector. For example, Banca Sella has announced an experiment with a biometric credit card, that is, a card that allows you to approve transactions Through fingerprint recognition Which happens via an integrated microchip.

The biometric chip is actuated directly by the POS in contact mode and by magnetic field in the case of contactless transactions. In practice, no PIN will be required to authenticate the transaction.

At the moment it is a pilot project that includes “Specific target customers in ItalyBanca Sella specifies.






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