Smart shopping.

Merchants in Spain and Hungary pilot cardless payments service that combines face and palm biometrics

Identity solutions are an integral part of the digital experience—and consumers want nothing to do with them. By authenticating users, these platforms keep fraud at bay, boosting trust, clicks, and sales. But they often require consumers to jump through hoops—creating unwieldy passwords, for example, or entering verification codes from a second device. 

The example of merchants in Spain shows that the combination of two great biometric technologies could solve these hurdles.

The combination of face and palm scanning rocks the costomer experience

Tom Phillips — September 2020

Customers at a coffee shop in Budapest, Hungary, and a number of small city-centre retailers in Guadalajara, Spain, are piloting a biometric payment service which allows them to make payments at the point of sale using their face and palm without needing a card, smartphone or other mobile device.

Users register for the service by uploading a selfie and a picture of their palm via the service’s app on their iOS or Android device. They then link a bank card to complete payments via an integrated payments gateway. “The actual in-store payment process is implemented by using a special point-of-sale machine, equipped with cameras and facial recognition software that scans customers’ faces and palms and compares them to the biometric template created in advance,” explains PeasyPay, the Hungarian startup that’s developed the technology.

“The combination of face and palm scanning solves the issue of mismatching a person, as facial recognition systems’ accuracy degree can vary significantly depending on the person, software and solution,” the company says. It adds that the service complies with the requirements of Europe’s GDPR data protection law and is not dependent “on a proprietary infrastructure and ecosystem” and that “any bank and any merchant can join”.

Further pilots are planned for Glasgow Airport in the UK and at a restaurant in Slovenia, with a global app due “by the end of the year”.

According to estimates by the American analysis company Tractica, the turnover of companies in the biometric sector will reach $ 69.8 billion in 2025 with an annual growth rate (CAGR) of 22.9%. Leading the market will be mainly the integration of biometric technology in smartphones and the increasing use of these systems in different fields, from smart home to automotive, from healthcare to financial services to digital payments via mobile.