worldpay facial recognition tech

Facial recognition technology could soon be coming to the UK to help combat card fraud in stores as researchers at Worldpay begin testing a new prototype system.

The payments processing company has announced it is trialling a ‘PED Cam’ (Pin Entry Device Camera), which works by using an upward-facing camera embedded into a card ­terminal to take a picture of the card user when they enter their PIN.

The resulting image creates a unique biometric template, which is linked to the individual’s card, and is stored in a 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 then automatically cross-referenced against the biometric template already captured and recorded, providing a second layer of authentication.

Nick Telford-Reed, Worldpay’s director of technology innovation, explained: “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.

“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.”

This follows moves by MasterCard in the US, which has this month begun a trial that will allow 500 customers to have their online purchases approved with a facial scan. Apple Pay has also allowed biometric approval since 2013 via its Touch ID fingerprint scan for online purchases.