New payment system using faces could replace bank cards

The way we pay for goods has changed dramatically in the last decade, with the introduction of chip and pin replacing the traditional signature, to the new form of using your smartphone. But now a Finnish company Uniqul has designed a facial recognition software that allows you to pay, using just your face.

©PayPal

©PayPal

The new payment system works by recognising customers by their first name and picture, all by the way of a mobile phone app, available for iOS, Windows OS and Android phones.

All the customer has to do is look into a lens while they are standing in the queue and then their name and picture will then appear on the shop’s payment system. They simply press ok and the retailer charges them by clicking on their image.

The face recognition software uses the fact that no two faces are identical, as even twins have differences. The technology is said to have a 96% recognition rate, with the other 4% having to enter a PIN to complete any transaction.

Store owners think it will soon catch on, as Richard Garcia, owner and proprietor of Cook and Garcia café, who has already signed up to the service says: “Customers don’t have to worry about having cards, cash or change, just their phones. It is the quickest transaction through the till, which means less queues and we never have to turn down a sale, both of which are great for business.”

©PayPal

©PayPal

And Ismail Ahmed, who is the co-founder of The Farmery frozen yogurt store in Richmond added: “Lots of our customers have a mobile phone, and are familiar with using apps on their phones. What’s better is that we didn’t even have to change anything about the way we run our business – we’re still using the same tills and system, including iPads and iPhones to operate the technology. All the customer has to do is check in on their phone, we see them on our system and we can just charge them – they can even check in before they get to the shop for their frozen yoghurt, saving even more time.”

The company behind the software is Uniqul, and the facial recognition payment system uses biometric technology to scan the faces of all the people who have pre-registered with the system. It then matches their faces with their credit card and the team at Uniqul say that this is potentially the world’s fastest payment system.

The faster payment processing technology will not only offer a more secure way of purchasing goods, but will also allow the retailer to see what their customers have bought, over a period of time. This all goes to make the purchasing experience a much more personal one.

©PayPal

©PayPal

At present the facial software technology is only available in Richmond, but it is thought that there are plans to roll out the payment system to the rest of the UK in over 2000 locations by the end of the year.

A spokesperson told the MailOnline: “In the UK, we are currently live with 12 merchants in Richmond using the new check in function in the app. While we can’t disclose any confirmed retailers who will use “check in to pay”, we will have brands such as Oasis, Coast, Karen Millen, Warehouse, Snow and Rock, Runners Need, Cycle Surgery, M&Co, Soletrader, SOLE and Thomas Pink live within the app this year.”

It will not be free to use this service however, as Uniqul will charge users a monthly fee, depending on where they want to use it. Charges are expected to range from €0.99 within a designated 1-2 km radius, €1.99 a month city-wide, and €6.99 worldwide.

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