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Visa launches New Zealand security roadmap as country’s supermarkets implement facial recognition


New Zealand is the latest country with a huge majority of consumers expressing a preference for biometric payment authentication over PINs and passwords, according to a survey by Visa.

Visa’s Future of Security Roadmap: New Zealand” (PDF) found that 88 percent of consumers in New Zealand would choose biometrics for payment authentication. Only 29 percent of those surveyed say they use a unique password or PIN for all accounts, and not having to remember them is the most commonly cited reason for preferring biometrics.

Similar surveys have shown consumers want to use biometrics in the U.S. (86 percent) and Singapore (97 percent), while a global survey in October showed 63 percent of consumers want to use biometric authentication for payments.

Visa’s “Roadmap” for New Zealand outlines plans to achieve tokenisation of all account holder data held outside of financial institutions in 2020, and says it will work with financial institutions and third-party wallet providers to enable the consumer device cardholder verification method (CDCVM) in the country.

“For the first time, our biometrics authentication standards effectively substitute the need for a PIN on purchases over $80,” says Marty Kerr, Visa’s Country Manager for New Zealand and South Pacific. “This means that if a device meets Visa’s new standards, we believe its biometrics reader is as secure as entering a PIN on a merchant’s terminal.”

Supermarkets using facial recognition for store security

Supermarket chain parent Foodstuffs has admitted to using facial recognition technology in some North Island grocery stores, but declined to identify which ones, the New Zealand Herald reports.

The company owns the New World, Pak’nSave, and FourSquare brands, though several Pak’nSave locations told the Herald they do not use the technology.

In a statement, Foodstuffs said it needs the technology to protect against theft and incidents of aggressive behavior towards staff, one of which recently resulted in a death.

“We use multiple strategies to protect our people, customers and product and we make no apology for this,” the company said. “Where CCTV – which may include facial recognition technology – is used in our stores, signage alerts customers to the fact images may be taken, as per privacy requirements. Footage can only be used for the purpose it is intended, which is as a deterrent and tool against theft and as a means of keeping customers and staff safe.”

Some Foodstuffs stores use the Auror loss prevention system to report information about alleged offences to police.‎

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