Employees of Japan’s Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG), Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) and Sumitomo Mitsui Card have begun a facial recognition service trial to authenticate purchases, with payments being deducted from their wage at the end of the month.

NEC face recognition system

PAY WITH A SMILE: Payments are taken directly from employees’ wages

The financial service providers are testing the service in collaboration with Japanese IT giant NEC, using the company’s NeoFace facial recognition platform, which doesn’t require the “installation of dedicated authentication devices”.

“The SMBC trials take place between 12 December 2016 and 30 January 2017, involving approximately 1,000 employees at the dining facilities of SMBC’s head office,” NEC says. “The Sumitomo Mitsui Card trials take place between 21 November 2016 and 31 January 2017, and involve approximately 400 employees at the company’s Tokyo head office.

“The service being tested in these trials utilises NEC’s NeoFace facial recognition engine… to enable identity verification by matching employees’ pre-registered facial images against the images taken by cameras installed in the employee dining facilities.

Experience and know-how

“Payment for items purchased is automatically deducted from employees’ monthly salaries for the following month.”

“In these trials, NEC, SMBC and Sumitomo Mitsui Card aim to verify the recognition performance, employee receptivity to biometric authentication and operational aspects of the service, while gaining experience and know-how with a view to providing safe, secure, convenient cashless (and cardless) payment services utilising facial recognition technology at branches in the future,” the company adds.

“We successfully concluded payment service trials using facial recognition at small shops inside our own head office,” says Fumiaki Matsubara, senior vice president of NEC, “and aim to see the commercialisation of these services contribute to greater safety and security in communities throughout the world.”

Employees at NEC’s head office in Tokyo began trialling the use of facial recognition to authenticate purchases in July 2016.

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