Amazon Files Patent to Let You Complete a Payment With a Selfie

With new payment technology, passwords could become obsolete.

ByABC News
March 14, 2016, 3:43 PM

— -- No need for a password -- the transaction of the future could be completed by simply taking a selfie.

Amazon filed a patent application this month, spotted by Re/Code, for a system that would allow users to take a selfie or video of themselves to complete a transaction.

The technology would identify the person completing the transaction is "a living human being" by using facial recognition technology, according to the patent application. They could also be prompted to perform an action, such as smiling, blinking or tilting their head a certain way to add an extra level of security and ensure the system isn't being duped by someone holding up a photo of a user.

Amazon's application also says the entry of passwords on many portable devices, such as tablets and phones, simply isn't user friendly. The retailer also said it could "require the user to turn away from friends or co-workers when entering a password, which can be awkward or embarrassing in many situations."

The result, according to Amazon's application, is that users often store their passwords on their devices or choose short and simple passwords -- two compromises the company said "can be easily hacked by an unscrupulous user or application."

An Amazon representative did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment. Since the information is in a patent application, it's likely going to be a while before any of this technology could potentially be implemented on the site. However, it could be one of the biggest changes to the way we shop since Amazon pioneered one-click ordering.

Amazon introduced another clever way to pay last year with its push-to-buy Dash buttons, allowing shoppers to hit a physical button to reorder common household products, ranging from detergent to dog food.