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Payface buys SmileGo to extend reach of face biometrics payments in Brazil

Payface buys SmileGo to extend reach of face biometrics payments in Brazil

Brazilian startup Payface, which focuses on payment systems using face biometrics, has closed a deal to purchase SmileGo, a rival facial recognition firm specializing in onboarding and payment cards, says a report in Exame.

The move is intended to expand the availability of payments using facial recognition at Brazil’s major retailers. In 2022, Payface partnered with Mastercard on its Biometric Checkout Program to offer “pay by smile” facial recognition payment authentication at five São Paulo supermarkets.

SmileGo, formerly a part of Vsoft and RPE, was looking to build on its business in private label cards for retail, by also offering face biometrics for payment.

“The two businesses have a lot of synergy,” says Eládio Isoppo, CEO and co-founder of Payface. Their fusion gives the startup a competitive edge in a growing market that rewards integration. Isoppo says the goal is to have 1.5 million active users per month by the end of 2024, and says the tech will both boost sales and improve security. “We have a mission to be payment method agnostic and connect our infrastructure to the main issuers.”

Payface has seen an infusion of investment in recent years, with money coming from the bank BT Pactual as well as VC firms HiPartners Capital & Work and OasisVentures. According to Exame, there is likely more investment to come, and Payface may explore further acquisitions to best position itself against foreign firms looking to break into the Brazilian biometric payments market.

Payface integrated passive liveness detection from ID R&D in 2021.

While it lags behind enthusiastic adopters of face-based payments such as China, where transaction values for biometric payment terminals are expected to reach $254 million in 2024, Brazil has deployed facial recognition in a number of scenarios, from law enforcement to school roll call.

The terms of the deal were not disclosed.

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