Worldpay considering integrating facial recognition for UK card transactions

October 1, 2015 - 

UK payment processing firm Worldpay is looking into ways in which facial recognition can be implemented to help verify consumer payments in an effort to curb card fraud at UK retail stores.

Worldpay is considering embedding small upward-facing cameras into card readers that would capture an image of a consumer’s face when they enter their pin number.

The captured image would then be matched against an existing profile that is linked to the shopper’s card.

The pin entry device camera, or ped cam, would serve as an additional security layer. If the existing profile does not match the consumer attempting to make the transaction, the cashier could ask the person for another piece of identification.

Card users would automatically be opted into the new facial recognition technology rather than registering for it.

The photos themselves would not be stored on the system, but rather, the images would generate “unique biometric templates” in which the consumers’ faces are mapped out, according to a Worldpay spokesperson.

The unique biometric template would be linked to the specific consumer’s card and stored in a secure, central database managed by Worldpay.

The card terminals linked to the database would capture an updated facial image of the card user each time they entered their pin.

In doing so, card companies could compile a comprehensive profile of the individual over time as their face changes, which would significantly improve the identification process.

Worldpay emphasized that the facial recognition system’s design is still in “concept phase”, with controlled trials currently being conducted.

The firm is also researching the potential of using the biometric profile captured by the device as a method of verifying the identities of card users, both online and in-store.

“Biometrics has attracted a lot of attention, but achieving sufficient scale has always been difficult in a face-to-face environment,” said Nick Telford-Reed, Worldpay’s director of technology innovation. “It’s partly because of cost, but also because people don’t want the admin hassle of registering their details.

“With this prototype we would remove that hassle. Card users could be automatically enrolled in the system when they use their card. The design also means retailers would not have to find space for another device on their already busy sales counters.”

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About Justin Lee

Justin Lee has been a contributor with Biometric Update since 2014. Previously, he was a staff writer for web hosting magazine and website, theWHIR. For more than a decade, Justin has written for various publications on issues relating to technology, arts and culture, and entertainment. Follow him on Twitter @BiometricJustin.