BBVA launches facial recognition payments
BBVA is pushing on with its invisible payments market ambitions with the deployment of a facial recognition system.
As reported in March, BBVA said it was developing methods based on biometric technologies to make checkout at stores “invisible”.
At that time, it was already being used in cafeterias and restaurants at Ciudad BBVA – the complex of seven buildings that houses its headquarters in Madrid.
In the latest development, testing has begun on a facial recognition system based on technology from the start-up Veridas, a joint venture of BBVA and Das-Nano in 2017.
Guillermo Sánchez, who heads the project for BBVA’s global payments team, says: “It’s fast, secure, and will fundamentally change the ways people pay for goods and services – literally taking things at face value.”
Customers in the bank’s restaurants have to smile (“or not, depending on their mood”) at a camera booth next to the cash registers, and provided they have registered, the system identifies them and automatically bills the customer for the purchase.
In the bank’s cafés, colleagues can also use the dedicated Selfie & Go app to order their drinks ahead, with the system automatically charging the customer when they collect.
For the customer, BBVA says these technologies speed up both the sales and ordering process, reducing the need to stand in lines or put down what they are carrying to find their payments cards or cash.
But, and with their consent, it also allows the retailer to push promotions to them – such as a free coffee with their meal, or a buy-nine-get-the-tenth-for-free deal.
For the retailer, BBVA explains that it saves them time and helps increases sales by making the process of buying and paying for something quicker and more efficient.
While at the moment the system is only being used to take payments for pre-set meals and drinks, BBVA says the next iteration should allow the system to actively scan the customers tray and to bill them for what is on it.
The bank is also working on solutions for other retailers that link RFID tags into the system, so customers can choose what they want within a store, and then as they engage with the camera to pay, the value of the goods chosen is calculated and the payment made. No timelines or specifics on that yet.
The Selfie & Go system was designed along with Sodexo Iberia, the group’s restaurant partner.
Last week was a lively one for the busy bank.
It merged its two existing group companies Beeva, specialising in cloud computing and big data, and i4S, which focuses on cybersecurity, into BBVA Next Technologies.
BBVA and Repsol closed a revolving credit facility (RCF) which uses distributed ledger technology (DLT) for corporate finance.