Chinese regulators are deploying ATM machines in Macau that require users to stare into a camera for six second to verify their identity and monitor transactions.
According to a report in Bloomberg, regulators in China are deploying the machines so they can keep track of outflows from China and to pinpoint any potential money laundering scams. Bloomberg reported UnionPay’s network is the first to use the software which will be installed in all the ATMs in Macau.
“This is aimed at illicit outflows of capital from China,” said Sean Norris, Asia Pacific managing director at Accuity in Singapore in an interview with Bloomberg. “It’s aimed at people drawing out money in Macau, going to the casino, betting very little, getting forex from there and moving it.” President Xi Jinping’s government is trying to suppress overseas shifting of currency that helps lower the value of the yuan and deplete capital reserves. With money exiting China topping $816 billion in 2016 the People’s Bank of China set controls.
For the biometrics industry the roll out of the ATMs marks the first time there was widespread adoption of facial recognition in greater China geared toward consumers. Privacy concerns aren’t an issue in the country like in the U.S. or Europe and censorship of the Internet is common in the country. “They’re not well-educated about how privacy should be important to them,” said Simic Chan, a senior analyst at Fung Global Retail & Technology in Hong Kong in the Bloomberg report “They feel it’s a norm to have their data collected.” The launch of the ATMs city wide in Macau comes at a time when casino revenue in May posted its largest gain in more than three years. Gambling receipts in May jumped close to 24 percent from 2016 to $2.8 billion, noted Bloomberg.