Could Your Next Credit Card Application Require a Selfie?

Oct 22, 2017

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Especially after the recent massive Equifax data breach, financial institutions are realizing that a credit card application that asks for your social security number, date of birth and address just may not be secure enough — that data may be in possession of people impersonating you. Now, banks and credit card platforms are scrambling to get new, more secure ways to verify identities.

And one of those high-tech tools coming down the line is the plain old selfie.

This week, Visa introduced a program called Visa ID Intelligence. This “ecosystem of authentication solutions” will enable participating banks, credit unions and merchants to utilize different forms of authentication for credit card applications, purchases and person-to-person payments.

Visa ID Intelligence options

Two aspects of the Visa ID Intelligence platform seem ready to roll out now: Identity Documents and Biometrics. Identity Documents requires a selfie and an image of your photo identification (listed examples include “driver’s license, passport, military ID, etc.”) to confirm your identity. Visa’s platform would compare the two to confirm that your face matches the identification. Visa notes “uses include account creation, password reset, and lost or stolen card scenarios.”

The next, more secure solution is Biometrics. “Customers will be able choose their own preference for biometric authentication: voice, face, finger print. Any manner that they want,” said Tom Grissen, CEO of Daon, which Visa is partnering with to develop Visa ID Intelligence.

But, Visa ID Intelligence is hoping to go much further, as it explains in this introduction video:

As Morgan Freeman explains, “now, the blink of an eye can open your account, the sound of your voice can pay back your friend, and the phone in your pocket can automatically confirm your identity.”

This platform seems primarily designed for banks which don’t have the resources to develop their own biometric authentication services. Bank of America, Chase and Citi are all working on their own solutions. So, Visa ID Intelligence will likely be utilized by smaller credit card issuers and credit unions instead of the big credit card issuers.

When can you expect to be required to take a selfie for your next credit card application? That’s unsure. But, experts think that the rollout — just like the rollout of chip cards in the US — will be slow. Then again, if banks are plagued by an increasing amount of fraudulent applications in the wake of the Equifax data breach, we might see an accelerated introduction.

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