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Facial recognition ATMs mandatory for mainland Mastercard, Visa cardholders in Macau


The Monetary Authority of Macau (AMCM) has made facial recognition technology a mandatory requirement for all mainland withdrawals made by Visa and Mastercard cardholders at automated teller machines (ATMs) starting in September, according to a report by Macau Daily Times.

Currently, there are several ATMs in Macau that are using facial recognition technology for Union Pay customers in an effort to combat money laundering as well as the central government’s strategy to prevent capital outflows from the mainland.

Now, these regulations will reportedly be extended to mainland cardholders of other major card-issuing companies.

The practice has led to an increase in withdrawals at Hong Kong’s ATMs by banking clients using China UnionPay bank cards.

Local residents that are using cards registered to a Macau account will not be subjected to facial recognition technology when withdrawing cash from ATMs.

The banking industry in Hong Kong believes that if Macau implements the policy mandating facial recognition scanning for all Visa and Mastercard cardholders at ATMs the government will be able to fully supervise mainland residents withdrawing money in Macau.

In addition, some believe that adopting facial recognition technology can help the supervising entity and the Macau government to learn more about mainland residents’ capital flow abroad.

AMCM requested in early July that any ATMs not equipped with know-your-customer (KYC) technology to cease cash withdrawal services for mainland China UnionPay (CUP) cards to provide legal safeguards for financial institutions and CUP cardholders, as well as increase the effectiveness of monitoring ATM cash withdrawals by mainland CUP cards.

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