The way we pay for goods is changing. Get ready for Selfie Pay, contactless payment rings and iris scanners.

What if you could use a selfie to pay for things? How about the rhythm of your heart?

New technologies that could change the way we buy things have been shown off at the Gherkin as part of London Tech Week.

Selfie Pay takes everyone’s favourite vanity exercise and makes it useful: allowing you to authorise a transaction with your face.

The app requires you to blink so it knows you’re really there and someone isn’t using a photo of you to fraudulently authorise a transaction.

The idea is to get rid of the need for passwords, instead using biometrics: unique data based on individual characteristics like your face, eyes or fingerprint.

“If you think about passwords, they’re a standalone measure,” said Jane Khodos from MasterCard. “They’re easily lost, stolen or forgotten.

“Here you’re authenticating with what you have: your phone and also who you are.”

You could use this kind of tech to buy goods, pay for bus or train fares, or to log into your computer.

We also saw more of Nymi: a wearable wristband that can identify you by the unique rhythm of your heart, found in your electrocardiogram (ECG).

Your heart rhythm is not to be confused with your heartbeat, so the band would still work if you had just run for a bus, for example.

“We’re also very concerned about the security issues, it’s something that’s top of the mind for us,” said Amy Neal from MasterCard Labs, the company’s research and development division.

It is not just biometrics that could change payments.

Kerv is said to be the world’s first contactless payment ring: a simple piece of technology that essentially means you are wearing a contactless payment card.

Payment tech inventors emphasise that there is no need to choose just one of these products.

“You can start to bundle biometric authentication together,” says Ms Neal. “So you might have Selfie Pay, but also the electrocardiagram for additional security.

“We hear stories like people are concerned that they may have an identical twin, so what does that mean if you’re doing selfie pay?

“For us this is ensuring that we have a full suite of biometrics available.”

The Kerv ring is due out in July, Selfie Pay comes out in the UK this year and the Nymi band and iris scanner are both still in development.

 


Team, T.S. (2016) Selfies and Contactless rings: New ways to pay. Available at: http://news.sky.com/story/selfies-and-contactless-rings-new-ways-to-pay-10323052 (Accessed: 15 July 2016).