Visa partners with Russian bank for facial recognition payments

Russian bank VTB has partnered with Visa and local FinTech O.Vision to let restaurant customers make payments with facial recognition.

VTB, founded in 1990, is one of Russia’s largest banks and posted net profits of $1.04 billion for the 2020 financial year.

The service, called “Opal”, is being initially rolled out at the KiO Kitech chain of restaurants in St Petersburg.

Customers need to install the O.Vision mobile app, register their phone number, save their facial biometrics, and link a card to make payments.

VTB says customers can then pay without using a smartphone or a card by using the service.
O.Vision said its identification algorithm is tested on a biometric registration database of more than 1 million people.

Customers paying with facial recognition with a linked Visa card in the first four months after the launch of the service will be given a 20 per cent discount on the order according to VTB.
Start-ups worldwide are experimenting with implementing facial recognition technology; Danish FinTech Nets launched a pilot programme testing facial recognition as a payment method in Copenhagen in December 2019.

A poll of 129 financial services professionals by EY at the SIBOS conference in November 2019 found that 31 per cent would choose biometrics - including facial recognition, fingerprinting and retinal scanning - as the dominant payment method by 2030.

“Payment using biometrics is becoming more common and popular among consumers,” said Yuri Topunov, head of Visa’s products department in Russia. “According to Visa data, two-thirds of customers – 70 per cent - consider biometric payments to be an easier way to make payments.”
“At the same time, 46 per cent of consumers call them not only convenient, but also a more reliable way to protect personal payment data when making purchases.”

She added: “We are confident that the new service will help consumers make payments faster, safer, and more convenient.”

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