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E‑Payments in Cars with “Selfies” Facial Recognition and Fingerprints, Oh Boy!

The sad truth is we cur­rent­ly live in a world where every­one wants to get paid, and fast; so Fresh­books, Visa and Mas­ter­card are work­ing towards mak­ing E‑payments occur as fast as human­ly pos­si­ble.  So how are all these quick trans­ac­tions of cur­ren­cy going to hap­pen?  Let’s first take a look at what Fresh­books is up to.  Found­ed in Toron­to back in 2003 as a cloud based accoun­tan­cy soft­ware, they’ve moved into the cred­it card read­er busi­ness to accept cards through a smart­phone.  They announced it back in Decem­ber and have test­ed it with invite only cus­tomers for a lim­it­ed time.  Their $29 read­er is a direct com­peti­tor for Jack Dorsey’s Square which went pub­lic 3 months ago.

The read­er unit that plugs direct­ly into an iPhone’s audio jack and is designed to help free­lancers and small-busi­ness own­ers go “cash-free” by accept­ing most com­mon bank pay­ment cards.  How­ev­er, the card read­er inte­grates with Fresh­Books broad­er soft­ware offer­ing, mean­ing that mer­chants’ invoic­es and finan­cial reports will be synced in real time when each pay­ment is processed.  In addi­tion to the $29, mer­chants will be charged 2.7 per­cent + $0.30 for each Visa and Mas­ter­Card trans­ac­tion, and 3.4 per­cent + $0.30 for Amer­i­can Express (AMEX). The read­er will accept both the new secu­ri­ty-focused EMV chip cards and the old­er mag­net­ic-stripe bank cards.

For right now Fresh­Books’ card read­er will only work on iPhones but Android is right around the cor­ner, most like­ly lat­er this year.

Now we all know about the selfie sickness sweeping the world but Mastercard is actually trying to take advantage of it as E‑Payments. 

Mas­ter­Card is set to roll-out both facial recog­ni­tion and fin­ger­print pay­ment autho­riza­tion.  Pay by Self­ie.  Mas­ter­Card’s move towards bio­met­ric pay­ment fol­lows a study it ran over the course of six months, with par­tic­i­pants using fin­ger­print or facial ver­i­fi­ca­tion. 75 % believed that bio­met­ric pay­ments would decrease fraud, 77 % indi­cat­ed that they want­ed to con­tin­ue using a fin­ger­print and/or facial recog­ni­tion to com­plete pay­ments; and nine out of ten indi­cat­ed that they would like to replace their pass­word with bio­met­ric iden­ti­fi­ca­tion definitively.

While the typ­i­cal unique­ness of our faces and fin­ger­prints may make them seem inher­ent­ly secure, they are just trans­formed into a pass­word by a computer.

This means that bio­met­ric data is open to being stolen and los­ing it has the poten­tial to real­ly screw up your life more so than if some­one sim­ply found out a pass­word that can lat­er be changed. Mas­ter­Card says the pilot has led to com­mer­cial inter­est from around the world and that it plans to launch the tech­nol­o­gy in the US, Cana­da and parts of Europe lat­er this year.

Well right on the tail of this news, Visa is mak­ing it pos­si­ble to pay for things using in-car apps. Like mobile and in-car pay­ments, self­ie- and fin­ger­print-autho­rized pay­ments are focused, in part, on pro­vid­ing con­ve­nience and they give the per­cep­tion of secu­ri­ty.  Launched back in 2014, the Visa Token Ser­vice pro­vides a means of autho­riz­ing pay­ments with­out expos­ing the details on bank and cred­it cards.

The firm has opened up its Visa Token Ser­vice to car­mak­ers, mean­ing dri­vers will soon be able to pay for things like fuel from the com­fort of their car.  Work­ing with Hon­da, Visa devel­oped a fuel app that inte­grates with the vehi­cle’s head unit and is able to detect when the car is low on fuel and pro­vide direc­tions to a gas sta­tion. Once the car is parked next to a pump, the app is able to work out exact­ly how much fuel is required and cal­cu­late the cost of fuel accordingly.

On an in car dis­play the dri­ver can send pay­ment for the fuel via the app, which fea­tures Visa’s online pay­ment ser­vice. Then there is also an app devel­oped with park­ing space find­er and book­ing called Park­Whizz, which tracks the amount of time a user’s car has been parked at one of Park­Whiz­z’s part­ner loca­tions and allows the dri­ver to pay only for that time.  The elapsed time and cost are shown on the in-car dis­play and the dri­ver can press a but­ton to make the payment.

The apps are to be test­ed in the US over three-month peri­ods start­ing short­ly. Visa says it has also been work­ing on tech­nolo­gies aimed at expand­ing the use of mobile pay­ments, such as new stan­dards for Blue­tooth and QR codes.

So what does this all mean?  It means that com­pa­nies won’t stop until you just throw your mon­ey at them, because giv­ing away your mon­ey will be as easy as blink­ing and breath­ing.  You won’t real­ize any exchanges are hap­pen­ing at all since every mon­e­tary trans­ac­tion will be as smooth as butter.

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