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Mastercard begins rolling out facial recognition with retailers

Mastercard Inc. has started testing a biometric payment method for physical establishments that uses facial recognition instead of contactless cards, smartphones, or remembered PINs.

The Biometric Checkout Program, according to the company, allows shoppers to scan their faces using a retailer’s smartphone app and associate their image with a bank card on file. The technology is similar to Apple Inc.’s iPhone, which uses FaceID to approve payments and unlock devices.

When the pandemic happened, we saw that everybody went digital and consumers embraced new technologies, Mastercard Cyber & Intelligence President Ajay Bhalla said in an interview. Consumers actually all over the world asked us for that for shopping, for their retail experiences.

According to Mastercard, a test initiative began this week in five St Marche supermarkets in Sao Paulo, Brazil. The stores will use an app created by Payface, a Brazilian startup that Mastercard supports as part of its Start Path engagement initiative.
On the hardware front, Mastercard is collaborating with NEC Corp. and Fujitsu General Ltd., with plans to launch internationally soon.

We’ve got the Middle East and Africa lined up, Asia and Latin America, Nili Klenoff, a senior vice president of product innovation at Mastercard, said in an interview. We’re really looking forward to bringing this solution everywhere.

She stated that other functions using this technology are being developed. Purchases of restricted shop items require age verification.

This is one that we’re just getting started with and one that we’re extremely thrilled about, she said.

Retailers, banks, and payment companies are all testing facial recognition as one of many technologies to eliminate cash and reduce fraud.

Amazon.com Inc. employs in-store cameras to watch what customers put in their baskets and charges them when they leave its physical locations in the United States and the United Kingdom. J Sainsbury Plc in the United Kingdom placed it in a trial store, and Starbucks Corp. has a café in New York that uses it as well.

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