JP Morgan, Mastercard Join Forces with Upcoming Biometric Face Payments

CaliExpress by Flippy, made headlines not only for its robotic burger makers but for novel payment method: facial recognition technology.

In Pasadena, California, CaliExpress by Flippy, made headlines in January not only for its robotic burger makers but also for introducing a novel payment method: facial recognition technology.

This fast-food establishment partners with PopID, a facial ID tech company, to offer customers the convenience of paying with just a face scan.

To use the system, patrons first register with a selfie on PopID’s platform. At checkout, the technology recognizes the customer and processes the transaction through facial verification, streamlining the purchasing process, all while cutting down on the authentication duration and finalizing a transaction.

The Midwest-based Steak ’N Shake in Illinois has also embraced similar technology with the integration of facial recognition kiosks across its 300 outlets to expedite customer check-ins. Compared to traditional methods like QR codes or mobile apps, PopID’s facial recognition is notably faster, taking about two to three seconds.

PopID’s recent partnership with JPMorgan suggests a significant shift towards mainstream adoption of biometric payments in the U.S. PopID’s CEO, John Miller, views this collaboration as a turning point, simplifying transactions by merging payment and loyalty program check-ins into a single facial scan.

Biometric payment systems are on the rise globally. Amazon has integrated pay-by-palm technology in 500 Whole Foods stores, despite setbacks in other cashier-less ventures. Similarly, Mastercard’s successful pilot in Brazil for facial-based payments is expanding, with plans to roll out the technology across the Asia-Pacific region in collaboration with NEC.

“Replacing the password with the person, we’re focusing on biometrics as a secure way to verify identity,” said Dennis Gamiello, Mastercard’s executive vice president of identity products and innovation.

But while the majority perceives it as a step forward, others’ perception of this reality differs. For some, the increasing implementation of biometric systems has sparked consumer pushback and legal challenges, particularly concerning privacy. For instance, Target faced a lawsuit in Illinois for allegedly collecting and storing biometric data without customer consent. Amazon and T-Mobile have encountered similar legal issues.

In contrast, biometric payment systems are more established in China, where companies like AliPay have offered facial recognition payment options since 2015. These systems are used in various settings, from McDonald’s to KFC, demonstrating a broader acceptance and integration of the technology.

Biometric payment technology not only facilitates transactions but also addresses the exponentially increased demand for faster and more secure payment methods. Juniper Research projected quite a hefty market expansion as the conversation around biometric payments continues to evolve, focusing on both convenience and the implications for privacy and data security.

As the market grows, Sheldon Jacobson of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, sees biometric identification as the next evolutionary step in consumer transactions, moving from credit cards to smartphones to facial recognition. Despite privacy concerns, Jacobson argues that society regularly trades privacy for convenience, a trend that is likely to continue as technology advances.

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