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Retail biometrics roll outs expand to bodegas and enrollment app

Retail biometrics roll outs expand to bodegas and enrollment app

Retail biometrics are growing rapidly, but stakeholder consultation, testing, and policy development must be prioritized to guard against the technology’s potential risks.

These were key insights shared during the latest episode of the Biometrics Institute’s On the Pulse Conversation video series, which features a discussion on “Considerations for using biometrics in retail.”

Institute CEO Isabelle Moeller and Advisory Council Member and Digital Identity Group Head Brett Feldon discussed possible hurdles related to misidentification and handling sensitive data, and the benefits of biometrics that they say can make dealing with those hurdles well worthwhile.

Feldon emphasizes that “meaningful stakeholder consultation right at the start is essential. What is reasonably expected in one nation or even in one community may not be in another, so it is absolutely not a one- size fits all.”

The breadth of different retailers turning to biometrics, whether to prevent theft or facilitate payments, underlines Feldon’s point.

Retail giants

Amazon has launched mobile app for its biometric retail service. The Amazon One app is now available for Apple and Android devices, and allows users to register their palm biometrics with a photo. Palm images are encrypted and sent to Amazon One’s AWS cloud, and the app includes spoof detection.

Amazon One’s retail biometrics have reached more than 500 Whole Foods Market locations, several Amazon stores, and more than 150 locations operated by third parties, according to a company announcement. The biometric service has now been used more than 8 million times, with over 80 percent of users opting to use it repeatedly.

The company claims its biometric technology is 99.9999 percent (six nines) accurate.

Small businesses

Hundreds of cameras equipped with facial recognition software are being deployed to New York City bodegas in the Bronx and Upper Manhattan, PIX11 reports.

The program is being run by the Bodega and Small Business Association, which plans to deploy 300 cameras. The cameras record people entering the store, and allows store owners to flag customers who commit shoplifting or other crimes in-store. Originally, the group planned to share a database among stores, but now each store populates its own database. The Association is seeking funding from a million-dollar state pilot program.

Police are also responding more quickly to emergency calls at NYC bodegas, due to another pilot of panic buttons.

Financial service providers

J.P. Morgan may succeed with its planned 2025 retail biometrics rollout, but the bank’s former VP and Real Time Payments Product Manager Alex Rivas-Gale warns that other financial services providers following in its footsteps may not have adequate security in place to do so safely.

She was speaking during the recent 11:FS’ Fintech Insider: After Dark event in London, her comments reported by eFinancialCareers.

Students and visitors to the cafeteria or cafes at Kyung Hee University in South Korea can now pace with face biometrics through the FaceSign system from Naver Financial, Korea JoongAng Daily reports. Users can register for the service and enroll their face biometrics through the Naver Pay app.

The system was previously trialed at the financial service provider’s office in Seongnam. Naver plans to use feedback from the deployment as it rolls the biometric technology out to other universities, workplaces and amusement parks.

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