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Will Selfies Replace Paper and Plastic as Payment Method of Choice?

Face value is about to take on a whole new meaning.

MasterCard announced Monday that it plans to launch payment technology in the U.S., Canada and parts of Europe in the summer of 2016 that will allow customers to pay for purchases by snapping a selfie.

Dubbed MasterCard Identity Check, the biometric payment method was piloted in the U.S. last fall by California’s First Tech Federal Credit Union. By downloading the program’s mobile app, First Tech employees were able to verify the authenticity of online donations made to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals by using either facial recognition or fingerprint matching biometrics. A similar pilot took place in the Netherlands.

MasterCard said that U.S. participants found biometric authentication easy to use on its own (88 percent) and 86 percent said it was easier than typing in a password. Additionally, more than 90 percent said that it’s something they could see themselves using on a daily basis.

Meanwhile, the Dutch pilot discovered that nine out of 10 participants said they would replace their password with biometric identification indefinitely, while 75 percent said it could decrease fraud.

“The Dutch consumer is very progressive in embracing new technologies,” Arjan Bol, country manager for MasterCard Netherlands, said in a statement. “We are now examining the possibilities to integrate our technology in the banking and tech giants’ apps to make payment using a selfie or fingerprint even easier.”

André IJbema, manager of risk management at International Card Services, explained, “Biometrics, unlike passwords, ensures convenience. People forget passwords, making the payment process unnecessary long and complex so we expect that passwords will slowly become obsolete in favor of a more user friendly alternative, such as biometrical identification.”

MasterCard said a market-ready implementation of its identity check mobile app will be available in the U.S. in the latter half of the year.