The future of electronic payment: Smartphone authentication and facial recognition

Withdrawing cash from an ATMs by using a debit or credit card or paying with it at a point-of-sale may soon become a thing of the past, as several manufacturers have presented technologies that will let users perform the same actions by simply using their smartphone or even their face.

US-based financial self-service and security corporation Diebold has partnered with mobile wallet provider Paydiant and has created the cardless Mobile Cash Access (MCA) solution, which not only eliminates the threat of card skimming at the ATM, but also allows financial institutions to provide a secure mobile wallet solution without installing additional hardware on ATMs or point-of-sale (POS) terminals.

“The solution allows consumers to pre-stage cash withdrawals on smartphone devices creating a cooperative interaction with the ATM. At the ATM, consumers authenticate themselves by scanning a unique QR code that signals the ATM to dispense cash via an encrypted connection to the cloud,” they explained.

Another solution from the same company is their millennial-inspired ATM, which features a user interface that enables touch gestures commonly used with smart phones and tablet devices, as well as integration with mobile devices via the cloud.

This new ATM interface allows users to (among other things) withdraw money without using their smartphones and to execute person-to-person payments.

“To complete a cardless withdrawal, a preregistered bank customer scans the ATM’s QR code using his smartphone. When the devices sync via the cloud, a transaction screen appears on the smartphone where the customer selects the withdrawal amount. The cloud server then sends a one-time code to the smartphone, which the customer enters on the ATM screen to authenticate the transaction and receive cash,” the company explained.

Facial recognition can also be used instead of the QR code.

Person-to-person payments are executed by a user setting up a pre-staged transaction by selecting the amount and the recipient’s contact information, selectable from the user’s smartphone contact list. The recipient then receives a one-time code that he can use at an ATM or bank branch to withdraw the money.

These ATMs are scheduled to be available for use by the end of the year.

Finland-based Uniqul has opted for face recognition by default, and says their solution makes transactions six times quicker, much easier, and safer.

“We believe that we have developed the most secure and convenient payment system available,” they say, adding that military grade algorithms make sure that the security of their system is impeccable.

As the user approaches the cashier, the tablet performs facial recognition by recording and processing his or her biometrical data to find the right account in our database. After the bought items have been registered, the only thing left for the user is to approve the transaction by pressing the “OK” button.

But the service isn’t free of charge: users who want to use the system in shops within a 1-2 km radius from a chosen area need to pay a 0.99€ monthly fee, those who would limit their shopping via this method to their city need to pay 1.99€, and international shoppers will have to part with 6.99€ a month for the pleasure.

The tablets in question are in the final stages of production, and will soon be deployed in the Helsinki area.

Don't miss