Google

Will Android Pay Use Facial Recognition For Loyalty Programs?

Google may be gearing up to include facial recognition in Android Pay, judging from the code on a new version of its payment app.

According to a report, 9to5Google did a so-called APK teardown of Android Pay Version 1.22 and found Visual ID, a feature that is described by Google as a “a secure way to confirm your identity at participating stores, making it easier to do things like earn loyalty points and redeem rewards.”

Yet, the report noted, the teardown of the code doesn’t mean Google will roll out the feature. A subsequent teardown by another tech blog noted that with Visual ID, loyalty perks are automatically applied to purchases using Android Pay. The Visual ID would use Bluetooth to pinpoint a customer’s location and would need a camera in the store to snap an image of the person, which isn’t saved.

This is not the first time Google trialled new ways for customers to pay for things. A couple of years ago, it rolled out its Hands-Free program, which was a trial that enabled users to pay for something simply by saying, “I’ll pay with Google.” The report stated that the program didn’t last long, with Google shutting it down in 2016.

Google isn’t the only one looking at using facial recognition for payments. In March, Bloomberg News reported Samsung’s Galaxy S8 would have built-in facial recognition technology to enable payments via mobile phone. Citing people familiar with the matter, Bloomberg reported at the time that by making payments super secure through biometrics, Samsung was aiming to stand out from the pack and differentiate itself from Apple and the iPhone 8, which is expected to hit store shelves in the fall.

According to Bloomberg, the Galaxy S8 will incorporate fingerprint, iris and facial detection to confirm a user when making mobile payments via Samsung Pay. The report noted Samsung is already working with banks to get them comfortable with using facial recognition systems. Older versions of Samsung’s Galaxy line of devices have used facial recognition technology but never for a payment app.

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