Kenya’s M-Pesa started a mobile money revolution when it launched in 2007 and the service – as well as subsequent rivals – has been a major enabler of e-commerce and general retail in various parts of the world.
But Bob Collymore, CEO of parent company Safaricom, noted during a visit to New York recently that M-Pesa must continue to innovate and improve its ‘clumsy technology’ if it is to keep pace with fast-changing rivals.
Amazon is a dominant player in the e-commerce space and recently announced that it is working on a technology to enable e-commerce customers to transact via the near-ubiquitous ‘selfie’. Instead of using passwords – which are open to fraud, hacking or sometimes forgotten – shoppers will be able to use a photograph or video of themselves as a way to do transactions.
“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 a variety of tasks,” Amazon said in a patent application for the technology, which was filed in March.
To avoid criminals circumventing the system by using a photograph or existing video of the registered user, the system has a two-tiered approach. The first selfie will establish the customer’s identity, while the second selfie will prompt the user to perform certain gestures – for example a smile or head tilt – to verify that a real person is attempting to access the account.
Industry experts observe this is an ideal strategy for younger Millennial and Generation Z consumers, who are already obsessed with the selfie lifestyle.
According to the ‘Daily Telegraph’ newspaper, studies have found that more than one in five people use the same password for everything, while 58% use a handful of passwords, with small variations, across all their accounts