Amazon files patent to offer payment with a selfie

Amazon said selfies were safer than facial recognition software

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The Independent Online

Amazon wants you to start paying for goods with a selfie.

That's if a recent patent filing is to be believed.

The patent application, filed in October last year, was first spotted by Re/Code. It concerns a payment method using selfies, where buyers are required to send two photos: one selfie and one in which they blink, smile or tilt their head to confirm that they are real and not a picture.

Amazon already has a patent for technology to authenticate a person's identity using photo or video, but not necessarily to complete a transaction.

Amazon said selfies were safer than facial recognition software, which "can often be spoofed by holding a picture of the user in front of the camera, as the resulting two-dimensional image can look substantially the same whether taken of the user or a picture of the user".

In the application, Amazon suggested that taking two selfies in front of colleagues or friends would be less embarrassing than simply entering a password.

"The entry of these passwords on portable devices is not user friendly... and can require the user to turn away from friends or co-workers when entering the password, which can be awkward or embarrassing in many situations," Amazon said.

Amazon also said selfie recognition would be more user-friendly than entering a password on a small touchscreen. The Independent has contact Amazon for further comment.

Last month, Mastercard confirmed that it would start accepting selfies and fingerprints as an alternative to passwords when verifying IDs in online payments. 

The credit card firm has been testing selfie software in the US and Netherlands. Some 92 per cent of test subjects preferred the new system to passwords.