PeasyPay launches biometric payment system, NTT facial recognition payments trialed on self-driving buses

Startup Wee Digital raises funds

biometric facial recognition

A biometric payment system using facial and palm recognition has been launched by startup PeasyPay in Hungary to provide GDPR-compliant in-store payments without the user needing a wallet, smartphone or credit card.

PeasyPay is a subsidiary of EIT Digital, and has rolled out the system in Budapest. A pair of photographs, one of the user’s face and one of his or her hand, enables fast and convenient payments according to the announcement, under the codename “Pay with a Smile.” PeasyPay is an initiative with participants including Spanish partners Ci3 and Liberbank, Hungary’s E-Group and OTP Bank, and Slovenia’s AV Living Lab.

“The system is composed of three elements,” PeasyPay’s product leader Csaba Körmöczi explains, “a smartphone app for the customer (used only during registration), a smartphone app for the merchants, and the payment terminal.”

Customers enroll their biometrics through an app available for iOS and Android, and register bank details through an integrated secure payments gateway. The in-store process is carried out with a dedicated point-of-sale (POS) device equipped with biometric software to perform scans and matching.

The company says the use of multiple biometric modalities solves the challenge of false acceptance or rejection, and that the solution has been designed for full compliance with all European regulations, incuding GDPR explicit consent requirements.

PeasyPay is also based on an open system, enabling any bank or merchant to join.

The solution has been operational in a coffee shop in Budapest since December 2019, and is now being piloted in Guadalajara, Spain. The company plans to launch it in Slovenia and the UK in the next stage of its roll-out. The Spanish pilot includes 25 shops in several retail areas, and the system is planned for deployment at Glasgow Airport’s parking area to serve taxi drivers.

Japanese self-driving buses test face biometric payments

Passengers on self-driving buses being tested in Japan can use facial recognition for bus fare payment, according to Japan Today, with a system developed by NTT Docomo, Gunma University and a group of public transport companies.

The buses use a 5G connection to navigate the city, and are planned for a route between Maebashi Station and Chuo Maebashi Station in December.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry is also planning tests of self-driving buses throughout the country, and a separate trial in Hyogo Prefecture’s Mita City recently concluded. Both the Maebashi and Mita trials included facial recognition for payments by passengers who had previously registered their biometrics.

Wee Digital announces seven-figure funding round

Vietnam-based Wee Digital has raised more than at least a million dollars in a funding round from Intervest and previous backer VinaCapital Ventures, with plans to expand in the market and develop its biometric authentication products and services for the country’s financial services industry, Tech in Asia reports.

CEO Christian Nguyen told Tech in Asia that the company’s technology can improve financial inclusion by making financial services more accessible.

“Wee Digital’s ambition is to change Vietnam’s micro-transaction behavior, moving Vietnam toward a cashless society where digital identity can verify and authenticate transactions,” according to a company statement.

Wee Digital plans to partner with banks in the coming months to help them integrate biometrics for a range of services. The company already counts ABBank and VietinBank as partners, and has struck a deal with Vingroup to deploy its technology at some of the groups’ Vinpearl resorts.

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