Payment Methods

BBVA Merges Two Units And Debuts Selfie Payment System


As BBVA steps up its digital efforts, the bank is merging its Beeva and i4S units to form a company called BBVA Next Technologies. The company’s 1,200 tech workers will focus on areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), the blockchain and cloud computing, according to their press release.

“BBVA Next Technologies is a company that specialises in emerging and disruptive technologies, that strives to stay ahead of the curve, looks at the future and aims to recruit the best tech talent,” BBVA Next Technologies CEO Ricardo Jurado said.

In line with BBVA’s efforts, the bank recently demonstrated a ‘selfie’ payment system based on facial recognition. Customers can buy items by looking at a camera in a booth adjacent to cash registers. Once the system recognizes their faces, it charges them for their purchases. Face recognition seems to be a focus for tech companies, SensibleVision recently announced their own “Face payments.” 

The news comes months after BBVA executed its first cross-border payments using a system based on the software that supports bitcoin. According to American Banker, using a program built by San Francisco–based Ripple, BBVA has transferred about 50 Euro-denominated payments to Mexico from Spain in seconds. These types of transactions normally take up to four days to clear.

BBVA planned to offer Ripple’s service to a small group of clients as a tryout, giving corporate customers a quicker and cheaper way to pay overseas suppliers and execute other international transactions, Alicia Pertusa, head of the lender’s Digital Transformation in the Investment Banking unit, had said at the time. On average, Ripple costs 81 percent less than the correspondent banking network used for decades to send global payments. And with Ripple, companies can track their payments and see precisely how much it will cost to complete the transfer.

“It’s not just the real-time transfer that’s important here but the information we can send with the payment,” Pertusa had said. “That’s very relevant for our clients because they could begin streamlining their reconciliation systems.”





The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.