Mastercard’s ‘smile to pay’ biometric tech could arrive in the UK soon

smile to pay

Mastercard’s biometric payment method that allows shoppers to pay with a smile could be coming to the UK soon, according to a company spokesperson.

The credit card giant believes the next step in cashless payments will remove the need for contactless cards and mobile phone payments.

“The next generation of in-person payments will only need a quick smile or wave of your hand,” Mastercard said.

In addition to being more convenient, the company claims it is also more hygienic in a post-covid world cutting down on unnecessary physical interactions.

Mastercard announced it will be pushing ahead with facial recognition and other biometric payment methods, despite some concerns raised in the past from civil rights groups over the ethics of the technology.

“Once enrolled, there is no need to slow down the checkout queue searching through their pockets or bag,” Mastercard said. “Consumers can simply check the bill and smile into a camera or wave their hand over a reader to pay.”

The company has already launched a trial rollout of the service in São Paulo as part of a partnership with Brazilian retail payment service provider Payface.

‘Smile to pay’ part of Mastercard metaverse plans

The trial will see five supermarkets in the city adopt the technology, allowing customers to smile at the checkout to pay.

A spokesperson for Mastercard has said that after the trial period taking place this week, it would move towards a global rollout, stating that the UK specifically is part of its “near-term plan” for expanding the service.

A recent study conducted in the UK by Juniper research predicted that facial recognition used for payment authentication would be used globally by over 1.4 billion people by 2025.

Mastercard’s president of cyber and intelligence, in an interview with CNBC, said the biometric tools could also have applications for the development of payment structures in the nascent metaverse.

“What we are working towards is the metaverse,” Ajay Bhalla said.