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Mastercard Debuts Framework to Enable Biometric Payments at Retailers Around the World

Mastercard's New Biometric Payments Program creates a framework that will allow retailers of all sizes to offer contactless biometric-based checkout.

Mastercard has launched a new Biometric Checkout Program globally that will enable merchants of all sizes to offer contactless biometric checkout experiences based on facial- or palm-based recognition technology.

Mastercard is working with a number of partners — including NEC, Payface, Aurus, PaybyFace, PopID and Fujitsu — to build out the program, which is essentially a technology framework that will enable this new way to pay. In addition to developing the infrastructure needed for implementation, the program outlines a set of standards that banks, merchants and technology providers will adhere to in order to ensure the security and privacy of personal data when people pay biometrically, governed by Mastercard’s principles for data responsibility.

The first pilot is launching this week in Brazil and will see Payface technology implemented across five St Marche supermarkets in São Paulo. Customers visiting the pilot stores can enroll with their facial and payment information through the Payface app. Once registered they will be able to pay via facial recognition at checkout without the need for a card or mobile device. Additional pilots are being planned in the Middle East and Asia.

Once rollout becomes more widespread, the payment systems also will be able to integrate with loyalty programs and personalized recommendations to help consumers find products based on previous purchases.

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“The way we pay needs to keep pace with the way we live, work and do business, offering choice to consumers with the highest levels of security,” said Ajay Bhalla, President of Cyber and Intelligence at Mastercard in a statement. “Our goal with this new program is to make shopping a great experience for consumers and merchants alike, providing the best of both security and convenience.”

Since late 2020, Amazon has been steadily expanding its own biometric payments solution, the Amazon One palm reader, which debuted at several Amazon Go stores and is now rolling out across additional Amazon-owned banners, including Whole Foods, as well as others retailers such as Hudson.

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