Amazon could soon let customers purchase products without a password, using a photo of their face instead.
The ecommerce giant has filed a patent to use photos or videos of a user’s face as a way to approve their online purchases.
“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,” the patent application reads.
The plan is not without its challenges. Although your face cannot be “stolen” or guessed at by hackers, like a password can, facial recognition systems can be spoofed by holding up a photo of a person, rather than their real face.
To avoid this, Amazon has patented a two-step system that takes two pictures to confirm a user’s identity.
The first selfie will establish your identity, while the second selfie will avoid spoofs. For this second step, your phone or computer will “prompt the user to perform certain actions, motions, or gestures, such as to smile, blink, or tilt his or her head,” in order to verify that a living, physical person is unlocking the Amazon account.
The selfie “password” has been adopted by a wave of e-commerce and financial services companies, as a more secure and efficient alternative to passwords.
Studies have found that more than one in five people use the same password for everything, while 58 per cent use a handful of passwords, with small variations, across accounts.
Last month, Mastercard confirmed it would accept selfies and fingerprints instead of account passwords in the UK. Microsoft Windows 10 and Android smartphones both already allow users to unlock their phones by looking at the camera.
Smart wallets such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Android Pay have also started to let consumers pay for things using the fingerprint scanner.