NEC, Sumitomo trial facial recognition to authenticate cashless payments

facial recognition
Credit: Julia Tim /

NEC announced that it is conducting trials for cashless payment services utilizing its facial recognition technology in cooperation with Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG), Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) and Sumitomo Mitsui Card.

The SMBC trials start this week and will run until the end of January 2017, involving approximately 1,000 employees at the dining facilities of SMBC’s head office. The Sumitomo Mitsui Card trials (which started last month and will also run to January 31) involve approximately 400 employees at the company’s Tokyo head office.

The service being tested in these trials utilizes NEC’s NeoFace facial recognition engine to enable ID verification by matching employees’ pre-registered facial images against the images taken by cameras installed in the employee dining facilities. Payment for purchased items is automatically deducted from employees’ monthly salaries for the following month.

NEC facial recognition

NEC says its facial recognition engine has is unique because it doesn’t require installation of dedicated authentication devices, and the registered facial data is stored in the form of numerical values, making it difficult for a third party to identify the faces of registered users even if they are able to obtain the data.

In these trials, NEC, SMBC and Sumitomo Mitsui Card aim to test 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 utilizing facial recognition technology at branches in the future.

“Along with these trials, NEC is improving the functionality, reliability and convenience of identity verification in a variety of areas,” said Fumiaki Matsubara, Senior Vice President, NEC Corporation. “We successfully concluded payment service trials using facial recognition at small shops inside our own head office, and aim to see the commercialization of these services contribute to greater safety and security in communities throughout the world.”

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