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Brief Published: 4 Jan 2017

Cashless Transactions: Pay by Face

NEC Corporation in Japan is trialling technology that allows consumers to pay with their faces

Japanese IT company NEC Corporation is developing a biometric system that uses facial recognition technology, rather than a PIN number, to verify payments.

Around 1,400 employees working for Japanese banking company Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group are testing the tech in dining facilities during a six-week trial, which will run until the end of January 2017.

The service uses NEC's NeoFace facial recognition engine to match employees' pre-registered facial images against pictures taken by cameras installed in the dining areas. Payment for purchases is then automatically deducted from the customer's monthly salary. Facial data is stored in the form of numerical values, boosting security by making it impossible for a third party to identify the faces of users.

"NEC is improving the functionality, reliability and convenience of identity verification in a variety of areas," said senior vice-president Fumiaki Matsubara. "We successfully concluded payment service trials using facial recognition at small shops inside our own head office, and aim to see the commercialisation of these services contribute to greater safety and security in communities throughout the world."

The company is planning to install the tech in commercial locations across Japan in time for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

For more on the fintech innovations improving convenience, security and customer care, see Human-Centred Tech Trends: The Tech Expo 2016 and Mobile World Congress 2016. To understand how consumer attitudes to finance are evolving and explore how brands are responding to the shift, don't miss our Flash Finance report – publishing January 9.

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