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Moscow extends use of face payments for public transport

Source: Moscow Metro

Moscow will extend the Face Pay biometric fare payment system to more modes of transport in the city, declared the Deputy Mayor of Moscow for Transport Maksim Liksutov in his column. For instance, in September the service will be available at all stations of the Moscow Central Circle (MCC).

 Maksim Liksutov outlined that the survey among the Face Pay users reveal high satisfaction rates: 88% of them appreciate the advantages of the technology and prefer this system to other payment methods. Users cited the following key benefits of the system: no need to carry a bank card (44%), innovativeness (42%), time saving – no need to stand in line to ticket offices or vending machines (38%), speed (37%). The disadvantages cited by users include a small number of turnstiles that accept the Face Pay. According to Maksim Liksutov, their number will increase by 200.

The majority of stations have 1-2 turnstiles, equipped with the Face Pay fare payment system, some stations have already increased their number at the request of users. For example, there are six turnstiles at Prospekt Mira station (Line 6) and five at Komsomolskaya station (the Circle Line). In total, 76 additional Face Pay turnstiles have already been installed. We see that this is not enough. However, after the upgrade of turnstiles in the underground, at least 200 more will be able to accept biometric payment. If necessary, we will further increase the number of such turnstiles, – Maksim Liksutov, the Deputy Mayor of Moscow for Transport.

Moreover, the technology will spread to more modes of transport: in September, all stations of the MCC will accept the Face Pay; the service will also become available at regular river transport this year. The technology is currently being tested at the surface transport and it is planned to launch the Face Pay on Aeroexpress (railway connection between city airports and railway terminals).

Maksim Liksutov noted that Moscow studies the possibility to link the Face Pay to social cards, including for students and schoolchildren. Another issue currently under consideration is selling season passes with biometric payment option to corporate clients: some companies purchase 30/90/365-day passes for their employees and would therefore benefit from the Face Pay access, rather than need to buy, distribute and give out tickets every time.

At present, more than 170 000 users are registered in the Face Pay system. More than 26 million trips have been made with biometrics since the service has been launched.

Using the Face Pay is completely voluntary. It is an additional way of paying fare. It is also the most technologically advanced and up-to-date. Biometric payment is a reliable and convenient alternative to the Apple Pay and the Google Pay. To speed up the operation of the turnstiles with the Face Pay, we are improving the software and have already upgraded the hardware - the turnstiles now open twice as fast, – said Maksim Liksutov, the Deputy Mayor of Moscow for Transport.

All of the equipment and software used is licensed and certified in full compliance with the laws of the Russian Federation. The Face Pay system has undergone the necessary certification and complies with the strictest Russian data protection requirements. Vendors and other participants in the biometric payment system have all the necessary certificates, from law enforcement to payment protocols.

We are confident in the security of the system. First, the storage of all the payment data of the Face Pay users is handled exclusively by a Russian bank. The data is protected according to the strict and generally accepted security protocol of the global payment card industry. For our part, we comply with all legal requirements. Secondly, the Face Pay is a Russian development and the property of the Government of Moscow. Bank card transactions are processed through the NSPK national payment system, to which the Russian acquiring bank VTB is also connected.

Thirdly, all servers are located exclusively in Russia. The entire complex system is under the full control of the Government of Moscow; it cannot be disconnected from abroad.

Fourthly, biometrics is safer and more reliable than paying fare with a bank card. For example, no one thinks about the risks when they pay for services and goods using their fingerprint. Facial recognition has long been used to unlock smartphones, and some major retailers are testing biometric payment. The Face Pay in transport has a bank-like level of protection, and outside interference is ruled out. Credit cards can be stolen or lost. Time will pass before a customer blocks it, and your face cannot be 'stolen', so the Face Pay is safer and more secure, – said Maksim Liksutov, the Deputy Mayor of Moscow for Transport.

The Face Pay is a part of the award-winning ticketing system of Moscow that has been recognised both in Russia and internationally on numerous occasions. For two years in a row, it has received the prestigious Transport Ticketing Award (2020, 2021). In October 2021, the Moscow Metro was the first in the world to introduce the facial recognition payment service at a huge scale.

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