Credit cards will soon give way to a much simpler method of making payments, as facial recognition technology looks to capitalise on the human smile.
According to Andrea Walsh, CIO at Isentia and a self-confessed machine learning enthusiast, facial recognition technology is now becoming sophisticated enough to provide a secure means of making financial transactions.
“Samsung have used the technology in their Galaxy S8 phones as a quick and easy way for users to lock and unlock the smartphone,” Ms Walsh tells My Business.
“Other businesses are using the technology to analyse their customers’ faces in order to develop targeted marketing strategies based on gender, age and ethnicity. It’s also been used to help people trial products – everything from eyelash extensions to custom spectacles.”
However, it is a new trial between Chinese giant Alibaba and fast food chain KFC which is taking facial recognition directly into the payments sphere.
“A 3D camera located at the point-of-sale scans the customer’s face to verify their identity. Following this, a verification code is sent to the user’s phone for an added layer of security,” Ms Walsh explains.
“It uses what is called a ‘live-ness detection algorithm’ to detect things like shadows in order to prevent people from using photos and videos to trick the system.”
Ms Walsh adds that Chinese company Baidu is already looking to incorporate such technology into its Apollo smart car, which is due for release in 2020.
However, the technology could eliminate not just credit cards but a whole manner of other physical identification cards and documents.
“This technology has the potential to transform everything from policing to the way people interact everyday with banks, stores and their workplace – and could lead to significant efficiencies. Take, for example, the idea of navigating your office building without the need for a swipe card,” she says.
“Like all technology, it takes a little while to transcend into everyday lives – just like it did with internet banking, PayPal, BPAY and PayPass.
“Before long, paying with your smile will quite simply become the norm.”
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.