BBVA has started testing a facial recognition payment application for employees to use at cafeterias and restaurants at the Ciudad BBVA office and business conference complex in Madrid.
The mobile app is powered through technology from the startup Veridas, which was a joint venture last year of BBVA and Das-Nano. Restaurant partner Sodexo Iberia is also involved in the project.
More than 1,000 employees at Ciudad are using the payments app, which provides the ability to reserve tables and dine without dealing with a bill. Customers inform a waiter they are ready to leave, and the waiter verifies registration in the system and an account linked through facial recognition. The cost of the meal is shown through the app.
The app also allows ordering and paying ahead off a Sodexo restaurant menu.
BBVA estimates that app users save up to 10 minutes at restaurants, which also benefit through increased billing from table turnover. "With this project, we're eliminating the friction points for customers when they make a purchase in a store," Ignacio Banon, BBVA's head of global payments, said in a Monday press release.
The next step for the payments app, BBVA says, is to move the facial recognition into practical uses in retail store settings. The application also has a person-to-person feature that allows a registered user with a linked credit card to send funds to others by sending messages directly from the app.
A customer loyalty solution is part of the app, including access to offers and promotions.
As part of the joint venture, Das-Nano specializes in developing software to digitally verify and authenticate personal identity through facial, voice, image, document or fingerprint recognition.
In the case of a customer using the app at a cafeteria in which customers choose their own items and place them on a tray before checking out, BBVA says the app uses machine learning algorithms to learn the identity of both the faces of users and products on the tray when scanned in order to make a correct charge on a credit card.
More than a year ago, BBVA launched facial recognition as a security method when onboarding new customers to BBVA accounts.