Researchers at Worldpay are investigating the use of facial recognition technology to help combat card fraud in stores across the UK.
The prototype 'PED Cam' (Pin Entry Device Camera) developed by Worldpay, uses an upward-facing camera, embedded into a standard card terminal to take a picture of the card-user whenever they enter their PIN. The resulting image generates a unique biometric template, linked to the individual’s card and is stored in a secure, central database managed by Worldpay.
Card terminals linked to the central database capture a fresh image of the card-user’s face every time they enter their PIN learning the profile of the user over time to improve identification. This image is automatically cross-referenced against the biometric template already captured and recorded in the system, providing a second layer of authentication to verify the identity of the card-user.
Nick Telford-Reed, Worldpay’s director of technology innovation, explains: “Biometrics has attracted a lot of attention, but achieving sufficient scale has always been difficult in a face-to-face environment. It’s partly because of cost, but also because people don’t want the admin hassle of registering their details."
While stressing that the idea is very much in the concept phase, he adds: “With this prototype we would remove that hassle. Card users could be automatically enrolled in the system when they use their card. The design also means retailers would not have to find space for another device on their already busy sales counters.”
He says Worldpay is currently evaluating consumer reaction to the camera in controlled trials as well as investigating how consumers could opt in to the biometric system, to assess the viability of the prototype. The firm is also exploring the potential of using the biometric profile captured by the device as a way of verifying user identities online as well as in-store.