Use Your iPhone X to Shop on eBay with Face ID
By: Dave Comer, Senior Director, Head of Identity Product and Engineering, eBay
eBay enables Face ID integration for shopping as easy and secure as ever.
From more powerful devices with faster processors, larger screens with richer displays, and seamless biometric authentication options, to the increasingly personalized and streamlined experiences built on top of them, each innovation sets a new, higher expectation for the next, and, as consumers, we expect them to simply work. Apple’s launch of the iPhone X and its much-anticipated Face ID authentication technology was no different.
Face ID makes it easier to log in to your phone or your apps. No more having to remember a password or even scan a finger—now all you need is your face. And shopping on the eBay app is just as easy because we’ve enabled Face ID for the latest iPhone X.
At eBay, supporting Face ID in our iOS app was key to delivering a great experience and aligned with our promise to make access to eBay feel effortless, while still being secure.
Apple made integration with Face ID easy for applications which already supported Touch ID— we only needed to modify our iOS application, and no changes were needed on the server-side. To build the feature in time for the iPhone X release, it just required us to complete development and testing using platform simulation tools, as the devices were not yet available. Additionally, we had a very small window of opportunity to make this happen. Our latest app release was within a few days of the iPhone X release date, which meant we needed to deliver in a compressed timeframe to ensure we were release-ready. Our team of engineers and testers were up to the challenge, motivated to enable a truly delightful experience for our users.
At eBay, we are prepared for future innovations in multi-factor authentication, as we have built an extensible architecture based on the Universal Authentication Framework (or “UAF”), as defined by an industry consortium called the FIDO Alliance, of which eBay is a member. This approach allows us to more readily add future authenticators we choose to support. The authentication industry moves fast—and supporting the latest iOS and Android device capabilities is a high priority for us.
Using Face ID is truly a magical experience. The depth mapping and infrared imaging technology behind it is brilliant, and it was designed to work with hats, scarves and glasses (even some sunglasses!). And it can be used inside, outside, or even in the dark. From a security and privacy perspective, Apple wants its users to know that a facial ‘image’ is captured as a mathematical representation—not an actual picture—that is encrypted and stored in a secure space on the device. So, the data never leaves the device. If you haven’t tried it, see if you can find a friend or colleague with an iPhone X and check it out.
This feature is just another example of eBay leveraging new device and mobile platform technologies to improve our buying and selling experiences, making access to eBay effortless and secure. Logging into eBay with Face ID is now available to our global community of users on the iPhone X, with version 5.16 (or greater) of the eBay iOS app.
Dave Comer is Head of Identity Product and Engineering at eBay, where he oversees company efforts related to user onboarding, account access and management.