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Put your cards away: Paying with your face is the next big thing

NEC is trialling new tech that uses biometric verification to confirm a payment. Sadly, your million dollar smile won't get you that much.


Cashless transactions are easy, thanks to swipe-to-pay debit cards and digital wallets like Apple Pay. But the future of cashless pay may not be in your phone, but in your face.

Japanese IT giant NEC is trialling a biometric system that uses facial recognition technology, rather than a PIN, as payment verification. That's right, you could soon be buying groceries with your face.

Around 1,400 employees from two different Japanese finance companies are taking part in the trial, which began earlier this month and last until January 30.

It may sound futuristic, but you've probably encountered biometric verification already. Apple popularised fingerprint scanners in phones with the iPhone 5S in 2013. This year the ill-fated Samsung Galaxy Note 7 came with retina scanning.

NEC isn't the only one looking to change the way we pay for things though. Earlier this year, Visa showed off a connected car that pays for you by communicating with chips in parking metres and gas pumps.

The company claims its NeoFace identification system is "the world's fastest and most accurate facial matching product." And since all of the facial data is stored as numerical information only, it says there'll be no way for a third party to identify a user's face.

As with many businesses in Japan, NEC is hoping to have the tech ready to show off by 2020 for the Tokyo Olympics.