CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET
Advertiser Disclosure

CNET Money’s mission is to help you maximize your financial potential. Our recommendations are based on our editors’ independent research and analysis, and we continuously update our content to reflect current partner offers. How we rate credit cards

Advertiser Disclosure
CNET editors independently choose every product and service we cover. Though we can’t review every available financial company or offer, we strive to make comprehensive, rigorous comparisons in order to highlight the best of them. For many of these products and services, we earn a commission. The compensation we receive may impact how products and links appear on our site.

Mastercard Unveils Biometric Checkout System That Lets You Pay With a Smile

The credit card company says it's working with partners to ensure consumer security and privacy.

Attila Tomaschek
Attila is a Staff Writer for CNET, covering software, apps and services with a focus on virtual private networks. He is an advocate for digital privacy and has been quoted in online publications like Computer Weekly, The Guardian, BBC News, HuffPost, Wired and TechRepublic. When not tapping away on his laptop, Attila enjoys spending time with his family, reading and collecting guitars.
Expertise Attila has nearly a decade's worth of experience with VPNs and has been covering them for CNET since 2021. As CNET's VPN expert, Attila rigorously tests VPNs and offers readers advice on how they can use the technology to protect their privacy online and
Attila Tomaschek
2 min read
Illustration of person's face being scanned.
Mastercard; screenshot by CNET

Mastercard wants to let you pay for things in stores with a smile or a wave, using its new Biometric Checkout Program, the credit card company said Tuesday. 

"The way we pay needs to keep pace with the way we live, work and do business, offering choice to consumers with the highest levels of security," Mastercard's president of Cyber & Intelligence, Ajay Bhalla, said in a release

The company said it's established a set of compliance standards for banks, merchants and technology providers that ensures that the private data of consumers using the service is properly secured.

Privacy advocates have long been wary of companies processing consumers' biometric data, especially when facial recognition is involved. The primary concern is that collecting biometric data like facial structure or fingerprints puts people's privacy at risk because that data is unique, unalterable and identifiable. 

Several states, including Illinois, have enacted laws regulating the use of biometrics. Lawmakers have also proposed federal legislation banning the use of facial recognition. And lawsuits have been brought against companies for violating biometric privacy laws. Earlier this year, the IRS began allowing taxpayers to opt out of facial recognition, after backlash over its use of ID.me to verify taxpayers' identities.  

Mastercard is testing its experimental biometric payment process starting this week at five supermarkets in São Paulo, Brazil. Mastercard said future tests are being planned for Asia and the Middle East. 

Mastercard said that though the company is focusing on testing the program in early-adopter markets, the US is part of its near-term plan and encouraging conversations with potential partners have taken place.