First Tech Federal Credit Union and MasterCard Announce First U.S. Biometric Payments Pilot

First Tech Federal Credit Union announced a pilot program with MasterCard that will enable First Tech employees to authenticate and verify transactions using facial recognition and fingerprint biometrics.

Dubbed “Selfie Pay,” by industry observers, this initial test will be conducted in a closed environment where First Tech employees will use artificial funds and biometrics. The pilot will test the potential of delivering greater security and convenience to First Tech’s U.S. cardholders by verifying identity via facial photographs or fingerprint scans conducted on smartphones. This technology will enhance the ease and convenience that Americans have come to expect when using credit and debit cards for online purchases while leveraging advanced technologies to help ensure payment security.

“At First Tech, we’re establishing a strong track record for bringing the most secure and forward-looking payments security to our members, first with our introduction this year of chip-and-PIN debit and credit cards. In that spirit, this biometrics pilot program represents an exciting next step in payment convenience and security,” said Greg Mitchell, CEO of First Tech Federal Credit Union. “Our members are some of the most technologically focused consumers on the planet, and being an innovator in the payments security space is evidence of our strong desire to meet our members’ unique needs.”

The pilot program will run in September and October and include over 200 credit union employees. Pilot participants will use smartphone apps to make virtual donations to the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals, all authenticated by facial recognition or fingerprint biometrics. MasterCard and First Tech are proud to support CMN Hospitals, a nonprofit organization raising funds and awareness for 170 children’s hospitals across North America.

“A recent MasterCard survey found that 83 percent of consumers are excited about new secure technologies helping to protect their financial information. In the same survey, three-fourths (75 percent) of consumers stated that they have heard of biometric payments,” said Catherine Murchie, Senior Vice President of U.S. Processing, Network & Enterprise Security Solutions for MasterCard. “We’re excited to be on the cutting edge of exploring biometrics and engaged in the first U.S. pilot with First Tech Federal Credit Union.”

First Tech and MasterCard introduced the concept for this biometrics pilot program at the White House Cyber Security Summit held at Stanford University in California on February 9.

The pilot program builds on existing activities by MasterCard and CardinalCommerce to power First Tech Federal Credit Union’s cardholder verification processes.