It’s an expansion of a pre-existing partnership. Mastercard announced a pilot “Biometric Checkout Program” in May of last year, teaming up with a number of biometrics specialists to see how such technology could be used to facilitate fast and secure in-store payments. NEC, Aurus, Fujitsu Limited, PaybyFace, PopID, and Payface were all signed up to help in the effort.
The payments giant has evidently been impressed by NEC’s sophisticated facial recognition technology, and is looking to further collaborate “to drive global scale,” according to a statement announcing the new MoU.
“This partnership with NEC will enable us to bring exciting new biometric payments to customers in countries across Asia Pacific and lead the world in safe and convenient checkout experiences,” explained Mastercard’s President of Cyber and Intelligence Solutions, Ajay Bhalla.
The end result will be a shopping system that links registered consumers’ faces to their payment cards, enabling them to make purchases without the need to present cash, a physical card, or any other hardware token. All that’s needed is to present the face associated with the biometric account.
For merchants, Mastercard says this approach can deliver “shorter lines, increased security and more hygienic conditions.” Amazon has notably made a big bet on biometric payment systems, and is currently working to deliver its own proprietary palm-scanning payment system to all of its US Whole Foods stores this year.
In announcing the deepened partnership with NEC, Mastercard also highlighted the latter’s “liveness verification technology,” a key concern for biometric security experts. Liveness detection systems are crucial in ensuring that fraudsters cannot simply fool an automated biometric payment system with a photo or video of another shopper’s face.
Mastercard and NEC will showcase their biometric payments solution at this week’s Singapore Fintech Festival, slated to run from November 15 to 17.
November 14, 2023 – by Alex Perala