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Fill 'er up -- and pay using facial recognition

A Finnish company claims to be developing an instant checkout system that snaps your mug to access your cloud-based wallet. All you have to do is hit a button confirming the purchase.


Near-field communication (NFC) is often hailed as the payment system of the future, but what if you didn't even need a mobile device in your pocket? Sure, you could get a subcutaneous RFID chip implanted, but Finnish company Uniqul claims to be working on a payment system based solely on facial recognition.

The idea is that you scan your items or pump your gas, and an installed point-of-sale camera snaps your mug while you do so to access your cloud-based wallet. That means that all you have to do is hit a button confirming the purchase and be on your merry way, a process which, Uniqul claims, will cut the average transaction time down from 30 seconds to 5.

The system consists of a high-definition camera, a hub, and a tablet. It connects to existing POS software, sending your payment information in the same way a card terminal does. The company has also designed a Uniqul-specific POS with a second tablet.

As for security, the company said, "We have adopted and improved military-grade identification algorithms to make sure that you are always recognized, but at the same time making sure that no one else gets access to your Uniqul account."

It's not free for users, though; there's a monthly subscription system based on location. Users choose a point that they're most likely to use as a locus for their shopping. For Uniqul terminals within about 1.25 miles of that point, the cost is .99 euros (about $1.30). A city-wide subscription is 1.99 euros (about $2.60); a city and surrounding suburbs subscription is 2.99 euros (about $4). Finally, global access to Uniqul terminals is 6.99.

All major credit cards can be used to create a Uniqul account.

The company is gearing up to launch the system in Helsinki sometime soon. Merchants can register their interest here, and customers can sign up here.

(Source: Crave Australia)