CaixaBank launches the first facial recognition payment system in a business, in Spain

20 noiembrie 2019

The solution, available to anyone who wants to use it, enables customers to pay at the checkout at the Nestle store in Esplugues de Llobregat, solely using their face, without the need to use a card, phone or cash.

„The initiative will enable the study of how facial recognition improves the customer experience in a store, especially in periods of high demand, such as the upcoming Christmas season.”, according to the press release.

CaixaBank, Nestle Market and the Payment Innovation Hub have launched the first facial recognition payment system in a business in Spain. It is a system that enables customers to pay for purchases solely using their face, without the need to use a physical payment method, such as a bank card, phone or cash.

Facial recognition technology improves the customer experience, streamlining checkout payments, while increasing the security of payments.

The initiative, which has been launched today in a trial at the Nestle Market store in Esplugues de Llobregat, in Barcelona, will be in operation over the next three months, in order to analyse how the new technology adapts to suit the needs of the retail business, especially in periods of high demand, such as the Christmas season. The system can be used by any customer, whichever model of phone they have or whichever bank to which their card corresponds: all they need to do is download the Face to Pay Nestle Market app.

The project has been developed jointly by CaixaBank, Nestle España’s financial management and the legal and technological services of the company, and the Payment Innovation Hub team (a multi-sector alliance made up of CaixaBank, Global Payments Inc., Visa, Samsung and Arval).

This is how payment by facial recognition works

To use the solution, all the user has to do is download the application Face to Pay Nestle Market (available both on Android in Google Play and on iPhone in the App Store), before making their first purchase, and register their personal details, card and their facial image.

Once they have completed the registration process, the customer will be able to pay for their purchases at Nestle Market, where an exclusive fast checkout has been set up, fitted with a tablet featuring a camera and internet connection.

When making the payment, the customer will take a selfie with the checkout camera. The system compares that image with the biometric pattern stored in the general database, based on the photograph uploaded when registering. If there is a match, the system proceeds to process the payment, and the customer does not need to use any physical payment methods (card, phone or cash) other than the photo of their face.

CaixaBank: international acknowledgement for the facial recognition application

For CaixaBank, the initiative represents a step further in its strategy of committing to facial recognition technology in environments where its application can provide an advantage for the customer in terms of user experience and security.

Along these lines, the financial institution, headed by Chairman, Jordi Gual, and Chief Executive Officer, Gonzalo Gortázar, is the world’s first bank to apply facial recognition to make withdrawals at ATMs without entering a PIN. The system is already in operation at branches in Barcelona and Valencia, and it will be deployed gradually at other points of the CaixaBank network over the coming months.

The ATM facial recognition application implemented by CaixaBank has received international acknowledgement, including awards such as Technology Project of the Year in the category “Service Provision Channels” at The Banker Tech Project Awards 2019.

The ATMs with facial recognition and the new payment system at Nestlé Market are fully commercial projects, open to all customers who want to use this new technology.

The development of pioneering projects for the sector has been fundamental to the digital transformation strategy of CaixaBank, which is a leader in retail banking and in innovation, with the largest digital customer base in Spain (6.3 million), the highest number of cards (17.24 million) and POS terminals (with a market share of 23.7% in purchasing turnover and 28% in the number of purchases in stores) and a leader in mobile payment, with more than a million customers.

Payment Innovation Hub

Since its creation, for almost two years the Payment Innovation Hub, with the backing of its partners (CaixaBank, Global Payments, Inc., Visa, Samsung and Arval) –leading companies in the financial, payments and technology sector– has delved into cutting-edge technologies to improve the customer experience in different stages of use, while committing to increasing their security.

As a result of its open innovation proposal and the collaboration of its five major partners, it has achieved major developments in the creation of solutions applied to various sectors, following the trend of invisible payments such as that launched now with Nestlé. In fact, up to now the hub has already devised nearly twenty projects in terms similar to those of start-ups. Thus, the average time of each project has been just three months to implement each of its prototypes together with the partners of the hub.

Together with the restaurant services group Vienna, the Payment Innovation Hub has recently launched to market a pioneering biometric recognition solution for facial payments in one of the chain’s centric restaurants in Barcelona.

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Jan Schildbach – Analyst Deutsche Bank


„Though Libra has met with fierce resistance from central banks and supervisory authorities and might never see the light of day, in many other cases tech firms (both start-ups and established big players) have successfully captured bits and pieces of universal banks’ traditional value chain. This trend may only intensify in the coming years. In this environment, European banks remain squeezed.”

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In 23 septembrie 2019, BNR a anuntat infiintarea unui Fintech Innovation Hub pentru a sustine inovatia in domeniul serviciilor financiare si de plata. In acest sens, care credeti ca ar trebui sa fie urmatorul pas al bancii centrale in 2020?
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