HSBC offers 'selfie pay' in China

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In another reminder that the introduction of Apple's iPhone X does not represent the first device to deploy facial recognition authorization, HSBC is making it possible for customers in China to make payments with a "selfie."

HSBC has added facial recognition technology to its mobile app, enabling a user to blink into the smartphone camera in "selfie mode" in order to have identity checked against a photo held on the bank's database.

If the pictures match, and the customer enters the correct passcode into their banking app, the customer can transfer up to 50,000 renminbi ($7,600) a day.
“We believe there is a huge growth opportunity, stemming from Chinese consumers’ enthusiasm for new technology,” Richard Li, executive vice president and head of retail banking and wealth management for HSBC China, said in a Sept. 18 press release.

“Investing in digital banking is one of our priorities to ensure we continue to provide the services people want and expect from us,” Li added.

Prior to the selfie option, bank customers used a token device for authenticating and making transfers.

China is the first country in which the bank is using facial recognition technology to authorize payments or money transfers, HSBC said. However, HSBC has been active in implementing biometric techniques for customer authentication. In February last year the bank announced plans to roll out voice recognition and Touch ID for 15 million U.K. customers, and in September previewed the introduction of facial recognition to speed up onboarding for new business clients.

The bank has also developed mobile payments in other parts of the world, supporting most major wallets for its customers with the goal of providing enough services via mobile app so as to extend branch services through smartphones.

Mastercard also expanded its Selfie Pay system into the Asia-Pacific region this year.

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Mobile payments Authentication HSBC China