Amazon may soon let you pay using a selfie

AmazonPatent1.jpgAmazon wants you to be able to authorize a transaction with a selfie, so now you’ll have to make sure you’re looking halfway decent when you’re doing some late-night, online shopping.

Amazon’s patent application for this technology, first seen by Re/Code, was filed Thursday. The patent describes using a camera to identify a user using facial recognition and then verifying that they are real by asking them to perform an action, like blinking.

The patent talks about the need for improved security around these electronic systems that allow you to purchase items with one click. It is possible to get someone’s password to his or her Amazon account, where you can go on a buying spree, but using facial recognition could make it a lot harder for hackers and thieves to use your accounts.

Amazon also describes the annoyance of typing in passwords on mobile devices that have small touch keyboards (AutoCorrect is a feature on your smartphone for a reason). Being able to take a picture and tilt your head to one side to verify that you are you and you are real could be a lot easier than typing in a super-secure password rife with capital letters, numbers and symbols.

The patent suggest the technology could be used on a number of devices, including desktops, laptops, phones and tablets. There is also an image showing that the image verification would be completed separate from the place a user is purchasing from.

Not only could this technology deter hackers, it could also deter less-responsible people from purchasing items. For example, children who are using their parents’ devices might make in-app purchases if they know a password, but won’t be able to purchase things without permission if they need their parents’ faces.


MasterCard recently announced they are rolling out their own “selfie pay” that allows MasterCard holders to make mobile payments using facial recognition technology. It looks like we’re moving toward a future where selfies are not just prevalent, but a necessary security component in modern commerce.

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