Face off: Tesco under fire for biometric payment plan

tesco 414Tesco is facing a major backlash following claims that the supermarket giant is set to introduce biometric payment methods – including face and palm recognition – at its checkouts by early next year.

The move has triggered some reports that the retailer will eventually move away from cash and card payments, although given the nature of the tech it will be unavailable for many – especially the elderly – so this seems unlikely.

Even so, biometric recognition software – which allow authentication based on physical characteristics – could lead to shorter queues, be more hygienic than tapping in a pin, and is significantly less vulnerable to fraud.

Tesco Bank recently partnered with global identity and authentication provider Onfido to provide a secure application process for new Clubcard Pay+ customers. It used biometric identity verification and AI technology to offer a “smooth and fast online user journey” for customer applications.

Customers are already able to use either fingerprint or ‘Face ID’ biometric login when they use Tesco Pay+, the app that lets customers pay for shopping, collect Clubcard points, and track their spending from their phone.

Many of the world’s biggest brands have already implemented biometric technology. For instance, Amazon uses palm scanning tech at its Whole Foods grocery stores, while Mastercard recently launched a scheme that allows shoppers to pay for goods with their face or hand at the checkout.

In a tweet, a Tesco customer said: “I’ve just had an interesting conversation with a staff member at Tesco who has confirmed that Tesco will be implementing biometric payments (face & palms) by early next year. They will no longer be accepting cash or cards.”

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