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Uniqul introduces face payments

15 July 2013  |  9481 views  |  0 Woman with shopping bag

Finnish start-up Uniqul is bidding to make wallets - leather and mobile - a thing of the past through a biometrics system that lets customers pay with their faces.

The firm claims to have developed the world's first face recognition payments system, and says it will slash the average in-store transaction time from 30 seconds to five seconds.

As customers approach the checkout, a camera picks them up and "military grade algorithms" identify them. A payment is pre-authorised using a card linked to the customer's Uniqul account and confirmed by pressing an 'OK' button on a tablet.

The system is still in the early development stages and retailers have not yet been approached with a working demo model, CEO Oscar Tuutti tells Finextra.

Currently, the technology has a 96% recognition rate, meaning that the remaining four per cent would have to enter a PIN to complete any transaction. Tuutti claims that the success rate should hit 99.6% by the autumn.

Uniqul will charge users a monthly fee, which will vary depending on where they want to use it. For EUR0.99, people will be able to use the system at participating retailers within a designated 1-2 km radius, for EUR1.99 a month, they can use it city-wide, and for EUR6.99 worldwide.

Pricing for merchants has yet to be finalised but Uniqul says that it will offer them the option of subsidising customers in order to promote uptake.

For payment processing, an application has been filed with an unnamed third party provider and Uniqul has already implemented its API.

Uniqul is not the first to make a move into face payments - Dutch firm Adyen unveiled an application that let people pay with a smile and a 'thumbs up' sign last year, albeit on 1 April.

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