You Might Soon Use Your Face to Pay Bills

NEC Corporation, a Japan-based multinational, is trialling a technology which will enable you to pay bills at retailers, restaurant and everywhere else your card usually works using facial recognition — not needing you to swipe cards.

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Artem Oleshko | Shutterstock

The biometric recognition technology is currently in its pilot phase as the company has already started the trial in association with Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG), Banking Corporation (SMBC) and Sumitomo Mitsui Card.

The trials have begun in two offices in Japan as 1400 Sumitomo employees are involved, and will continue until the end of January 2017.

The service uses NEC’s NeoFace facial recognition system, which is touted as one of the best techs available for the job worldwide.

“Along with these trials, NEC is improving the functionality, reliability and convenience of identity verification in a variety of areas,” said Fumiaki Matsubara, Senior Vice President, NEC Corporation.

While India is still fiddling with early stage mobile wallets and numerous security concerns encircling them, this might seem like a step way ahead in the future.

Reports also surfaced about Samsung Pay launching in India, which enables you to carry a digital copy of your credit/debit cards and further authenticates payment using fingerprint or pin.

While services like Samsung Pay and Apple Pay, which are already available in several countries worldwide have gained popularity due to ease of use, this biometric recognition payment system might be the next big thing in the world of cashless payments.

“We successfully concluded payment service trials using facial recognition at small shops inside our head office, and aim to see the commercialisation of these services contribute to greater safety and security in communities throughout the world,” Matsubara added.

How Does the Service Work?

The biometric recognition and payment service, which is currently on trial in Japan, helps the machine connect your face with finances and bills you accordingly.

In the trial, pre-registered facial images of the employees are matched against images taken by the cameras installed at the dining facilities.

The items sold to unique employees will then be billed to their respective monthly salaries for the following month.

“In these trials, the company’s aim to verify the recognition performance, employee receptivity to biometric authentication, and operational aspects of the service, while gaining experience and know-how; with a view to providing safe, secure, convenient cashless payment services utilising facial recognition technology in the future,” NEC stated.

The company claims that the service is secure as the facial data is stored in the form of numerical values, which will make it nearly impossible for a third party to identify the registered faces, even if there is a data breach.

Security features haven’t been elaborated by the company and the question remains — what if someone wears a mask of your face and makes a huge payment from your account? While the camera keeps thinking it’s you underneath too.

While this is a big leap in the world of tech, bringing such technology to India is going to take time, as the country is still gearing up for its cashless economy dream and a chunk of citizens don’t even have bank accounts — let alone cards to swipe.

So for all those getting this service anytime in the near future, put your million dollar smile up for burning a hole in your pocket.

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