Mega-giant e-commerce retailer Amazon apparently has plans in the works for a revolutionary new payment system that will allow consumers to pay for their purchases simply by taking a selfie. The company has filed a patent to use photos or videos of the purchaser’s face to complete payment transactions. The patent application justifies use of this technology by implying that facial recognition is a more secure method of payment than password usage, as passwords can be stolen.
According to the Telegraph, Amazon’s system will be unique and designed to circumvent spoofing as it will involve two steps. First, the consumer would have to present his face to the camera to establish identity and then would have to perform some type of activity, such as the blinking of an eye or making another such motion, to verify that the user is not just holding up a photo of the paying consumer.
— Ramona Pierson (@ramonapierson) March 15, 2016
Amazon has not yet responded to a request for a comment on the technology by ABC News. However, ABC speculates that it will be a while before any of this new technology will be implemented on the e-commerce site since it is just now in the application stage of the patent.
The online retailer has instituted other changes to its methods of payment in the past to make the payment process faster and more simple for consumers. First, there was one-click ordering, and then there was the Dash system, where shoppers could simply hit a physical button on a sensor-like device to reorder household products, and an automated process would ensue where the order was placed, paid for, and shipped in a timely manner.
This patent pending system is very similar to one rolled out last month by Mastercard, writes Consumerist.
Amazon filed a patent to let you complete a payments with selfies. https://t.co/eWQH9VLaH9
— WTNH News 8 (@WTNH) March 15, 2016
Security seems to be the primary focus of Amazon’s intent for the system, as indicated by statements made in the patent application.
“As people are utilizing computing devices for an increasing variety of tasks, there is a corresponding need to improve the security available for these tasks. While many conventional approaches rely on password entry for user authentication, these passwords can be stolen or discovered by other persons who can impersonate the user for any of a variety of tasks.”
Also indicated in the application is a desire to make verifications even more convenient and comfortable. Amazon indicated that entering passwords onto mobile devices could be challenging due to the small size of the keyboard and screen.
“… not user friendly in many cases, as the small touchscreen or keyboard elements can be difficult to accurately select using a relatively large human finger, and can require the user to turn away from friends or co-workers when entering a password, which can be awkward or embarrassing in many situations.”
Amazon is headquartered in Seattle, Washington, and operates under the continuing leadership of founder Jeff Bezos who acts as President, CEO, and Chairman. It began operations in 1994, with its primary product at that time being books and has expanded into its current iteration as an online purveyor of all things digital and physical. It has now become known as the largest Internet-based retailer in the United States.
— AK (@AlwaysK_456) March 15, 2016
One of Amazon’s most creative endeavors, and one that literally changed the landscape of how consumers read books, has been the development of the Amazon Kindle, an electronic device onto which e-books and other forms of electronic media can be downloaded and immediately consumed. The Kindle line eventually expanded from that of a simple e-reader to multiple other devices in the Kindle line that include competitively-priced tablets.
Not only does Amazon offer its services in the United States, but it has consumers all over the world for which international shipping is an option for delivery.