A Finnish startup has developed the world’s first biometrics system that enables shoppers to pay in-store using just their faces, with a transaction time estimated at five to thirty seconds.

Face Recognition Set to Make In-Store Purchasing Easier?

A large number of technological advances have been made recently in point-of-sale payments systems: fingerprints, smartphones used as payment terminals, and voice recognition have all made their appearance. However, argues Ruslan Pisarenko, sales director at Uniqul, “paying via a mobile phone means the user is weighed down by the device, while voice recognition is not yet secure enough as a means of payment, and fingerprints have the inconvenience of taking up too much time in-store.” To remedy all this, the Finnish startup has developed a biometrics system which enables customers to pay with only their face.

Payment system based on face recognition

How it works is that when a customer approaches the checkout to pay for his/her goods, a high-definition camera picks up the shopper and an algorithm immediately sets to work identifying him/her from the facial features. The system then matches the shopper’s facial details with a database comprising the profiles of users who have already had their faces ‘digitised’ and linked to their bank account details. All you have to do then is confirm your payment by clicking the ‘OK’ button. Ruslan Pisarenko says that the process takes five to thirty seconds, about the same time it takes to get out your wallet. “Moreover, face recognition is the most secure system on the market for ensuring against identity theft,” he underlines.

Commercial model inspired by the iTunes Store

The system is still undergoing fine-tuning, but in tests has already attained a success rate of 96.8% in putting a name to each face, and has even proved capable of distinguishing between twins. Uniqul plans to offer a monthly subscription, which will depend on the distance purchases are made from the user-chosen central location. The micro-payment approach and the concept of registering personal details once only for all transactions have a lot in common with the iTunes Store system. As for the retail merchants, Uniqul has not yet revealed the charge it will make for the service, but assures the store owners that they will enjoy a high return on their investment. “After all, their customers have never had such an easy way of paying in-store,” Pisarenko points out.



By Ruolin Yang