Chinese Subway Trials Facial Recognition Payment System

Chinese Subway Trials Facial Recognition Payment System

Shenzen Metro is trialing a new ticketing system that would allow passengers to pay their fare and board the subway with only a facial recognition scan. The system is built with 5G and AI technology from Huawei, and the trial is currently underway at the city’s Futian station.

As South China Morning Post reports, participants in the program will need to pre-register their faces and authorize a payment method. When they get to Futian station, a small screen placed next to the entrance gate performs a facial recognition scan and automatically withdraws the appropriate fare from the linked account. After that, the user can pass through the turnstile and board the train.

The Shenzen news follows the successful deployment of the Smile to Pay facial recognition payment platform at KFC locations across China. The country has been one of the most enthusiastic adopters of mobile payments technology, with the China Internet Network Information Center reporting that 583 million people have used their smartphone as a payment device in the past year. Administrators have also been particularly keen on the public uses of facial recognition technology, using it for everything from video game age gates to jaywalker surveillance.

The move towards facial recognition further extends the trend of naked payment systems that don’t require cards or other hardware in China.

Shenzen Metro operators are hoping that the new system will allow for faster service and make the subway more efficient for the city’s five million daily riders. It is not yet clear when the service will be extended beyond Futian to the rest of the Shenzen Metro system.

Source: South China Morning Post

March 15, 2019 – by Eric Weiss