First Tech Federal Credit Union announced a pilot program with Mastercard Inc (NYSE:MA) that will enable First Tech employees to authenticate and verify transactions using facial recognition and fingerprint biometrics.

Dubbed “Selfie Pay,” by industry observers, this initial test will be conducted in a closed environment where First Tech employees will use artificial funds and biometrics. The pilot will test the potential of delivering greater security and convenience to First Tech’s U.S. cardholders by verifying identity via facial photographs or fingerprint scans conducted on smartphones. This technology will enhance the ease and convenience that Americans have come to expect when using credit and debit cards for online purchases while leveraging advanced technologies to help ensure payment security.

“At First Tech, we’re establishing a strong track record for bringing the most secure and forward-looking payments security to our members, first with our introduction this year of chip-and-PIN debit and credit cards. In that spirit, this biometrics pilot program represents an exciting next step in payment convenience and security,” said Greg Mitchell, CEO of First Tech Federal Credit Union. “Our members are some of the most technologically focused consumers on the planet, and being an innovator in the payments security space is evidence of our strong desire to meet our members’ unique needs.”

The pilot program will run in September and October and include over 200 credit union employees. Pilot participants will use smartphone apps to make virtual donations to the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospitals, all authenticated by facial recognition or fingerprint biometrics. MasterCard and First Tech are proud to support CMN Hospitals, a nonprofit organization raising funds and awareness for 170 children’s hospitals across North America.

“A recent MasterCard survey found that 83 percent of consumers are excited about new secure technologies helping to protect their financial information. In the same survey, three-fourths (75 percent) of consumers stated that they have heard of biometric payments,” said Catherine Murchie, Senior Vice President of U.S. Processing, Network & Enterprise Security Solutions for MasterCard. “We’re excited to be on the cutting edge of exploring biometrics and engaged in the first U.S. pilot with First Tech Federal Credit Union.”

First Tech and MasterCard introduced the concept for this biometrics pilot program at the White House Cyber Security Summit held at Stanford University in California on February 9.

The pilot program builds on existing activities by MasterCard and CardinalCommerce to power First Tech Federal Credit Union’s cardholder verification processes. (Original Source)

Shares of Mastercard closed yesterday at $97.86. MA has a 1-year high of $99.18 and a 1-year low of $69.64. The stock’s 50-day moving average is $95.93 and its 200-day moving average is $91.55.

On the ratings front, Mastercard has been the subject of a number of recent research reports. In a report issued on August 7, Deutsche Bank analyst Bryan Keane maintained a Buy rating on MA, with a price target of $100, which represents a slight upside potential from current levels. Separately, on July 30, FBR’s Scott Valentin reiterated a Hold rating on the stock and has a price target of $103.

According to, which ranks over 7,500 financial analysts and bloggers to gauge the performance of their past recommendations, Bryan Keane and Scott Valentin have a total average return of 15.6% and 12.9% respectively. Keane has a success rate of 80.0% and is ranked #204 out of 3738 analysts, while Valentin has a success rate of 74.6% and is ranked #381.

Overall, one research analyst has assigned a Hold rating and 6 research analysts have given a Buy rating to the stock. When considering if perhaps the stock is under or overvalued, the average price target is $98.67 which is 0.8% above where the stock closed yesterday.