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News Roundup: Payment Services Have Their Eye on You

In the quest to make online payments easier on mobile devices, companies like Amazon and Google are working on facial recognition and other technologies. Why fumble for change at the drive-through restaurant or type your password into your smartphone? Also read about why small retailers are suing credit card companies.

Amazon Pay By Selfie
Amazon is serious about payments, at least we think so. The company patented an “Image analysis for user authentication” – basically, a way for shoppers to authorize mobile payments by taking a selfie.

“A transaction is authorized using an authentication process that prompts the user to perform an action in view of a camera or sensor. The process identifies the user and verifies that the user requesting the transaction is a living human being,…” It continues, “The device prompts the user to perform an action to confirm the transaction, and causes the transaction to be performed after verifying performance of the action by the identified user.”

The Consumerist compared it to MasterCard’s selfie verification system, “which requires that the user blink to confirm they aren’t merely holding up a photo.”

Source: Consumerist.

Google Also Tests Photo Identity Confirmation 
“Imagine if you could rush through a drive-thru without reaching for your wallet, or pick up a hot dog at the ballpark without fumbling to pass coins or your credit card to the cashier,” Google asks. The company revealed it is piloting a program called Hands Free at eateries in California.

“Once you’ve installed and set up the app, Hands Free uses Bluetooth low energy, Wi-Fi, and location services on your phone to detect whether you’re near a participating store. When you’re ready to pay, you can simply tell the cashier, “I’ll pay with Google.” The cashier will ask for your initials and use the picture you added to your Hands Free profile to confirm your identity.”

It’s also testing the use of in-store cameras to automatically confirm users identities based on their Hands Free profile picture.

Source: Google Commerce blog.

Visa Launches Visa Checkout Interactive Button
Visa launched the new Visa Checkout Interactive Button for faster mobile commerce. Shoppers can complete their online purchase by sliding a virtual image of their credit, debit or prepaid card across the screen of a smartphone, tablet or laptop. Pilot testing showed it boosted conversion rates.

A spokesperson told EcommerceBytes VCO essentially allows shoppers to link their debit or credit card to a Visa checkout account and when on a merchant website, they can digitally purchase from one of 250,000+ merchant partners including Best Buy, Gap and Virgin America.

Source: Visa Checkout.

Small Retailers Sue Visa, Mastercard, AmEx
Small retailers filed a federal class action lawsuit claiming that credit card companies are using the installation of new chip readers on credit and debit cards to shift the liability of fraud from financial institutions to merchants, according to Courthouse News.

“In the past, when consumers report misuse of their credit or debit card, the financial institutions reimbursed the customer and bore the onus for recouping the funds from fraudsters. But the merchants say banks are now forcing the financial liability on stores or requiring an extensive certification process the plaintiffs claim is actually impossible to achieve.”

Source: Courthouse News.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.