Aiming to expand the uses for its biometrics authentication technologies, NEC Corp. recently announced that it has launched a series of trials for cashless payment services that rely on facial recognition technologies. The trials, which started in late June and will be completed at the end of August, are in small shops inside the company’s head office building in Tokyo.
“This trial will enable us to improve technological performance and to accumulate knowledge towards the commercialization of facial authentication-based payment services, thereby helping NEC to enhance FinTech services and ensure greater safety and security,” said Fumiaki Matsubara, senior vice president at NEC in a recent press release.
The cashless payment services trial uses NEC’s NeoFace facial recognition technologies which relies on NEC’s facial recognition algorithm, enabling identity verification by matching preregistered facial images against the image taken by a camera that is installed close to the point-of-sale terminal at the checkout counter. With the feature, customers don’t have to use a credit card or cash to make a purchase.
The move on the part of NEC comes on the heels of its earlier foray into facial recognition technology. In April, the company launched a wide scale trial of its “Walkthrough Facial Recognition System” at its head office. Employees gain access to the building based on facial recognition. The announcement about the trials at the stores in Tokyo is the second round of the company’s effort to boost the uses of its biometric authentication technologies.
NEC isn’t the first company to bring facial recognition technology to the retail world. Credit card issuer MasterCard announced it will approve online purchases with a facial scan instead of a password. When making a purchase, customers will be asked to take a photo of themselves instead of imputing a password. The idea behind it is to reduce the amount of credit card fraud online. MasterCard plans to implement a small pilot program that uses both fingerprints and facial scans. The credit card company plans to launch it to the masses once it works out all the kinks with the new service. American Express is also among those looking into facial recognition technology.