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Selfie payments firm accepted into FCA’s ‘regulatory sandbox’


Two firms utilizing facial recognition in their solutions are among the 24 fintech companies selected to test their products on actual customers in the UK, according to a report by Banking Technology.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) accepted 24 firms including German face recognition payments firm Saffe and Swiss artificial intelligence firm nViso into its so-called “regulatory sandbox”.

The program allows businesses with innovative technology to run trials with UK consumers that are strictly supervised by the FCA.

Saffe provides a face recognition payments app that allows consumers to authenticate payments by taking a selfie, while TnViso’s online platform provides behavioural assessment profiles using AI and facial recognition technologies.

The sandbox is part of the FCA’s Innovate program that was launched in 2014 and promotes competition by providing fintech firms with the resources to develop their products.

This second round of sandbox startups follow the previous 18 businesses that were invited by the regulator to test their products last fall in the first round of trials.

The first round of participating companies are now submitting their reports to the FCA, which will determine whether they will be able to move beyond the testing phase.

“The sandbox continues to grow in popularity and it is particularly encouraging that both the number of firms applying and accepted for testing has increased in cohort two,” said Christopher Woolard, the FCA’s executive director of strategy and competition. “That means more innovative firms, trialling more innovative propositions to bring to the market. This is an important part of the FCA’s commitment to promoting innovation and competition in the markets we regulate.”

The FCA received 77 applications for the second round of trials — 31 firms which were determined eligible but only 24 that are preparing to launch tests.

The regulator is also preparing for a third round of tests and has given prospective fintech firms a deadline of July 31 to submit applications to participate in the sandbox.

Previously reported, the Financial Conduct Authority recently released research that finds that blockchain and biometrics could pave the future for the UK’s regtech industry.

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