Shinhan Card pilots face payments in Korea with BGF Retail

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Shinhan Card has begun piloting facial recognition payments with its employees at its headquarters’ retail facilities in partnership with South Korea’s largest convenience store operator BGF Retail.

Seoul-based Shinhan's face pay was first demonstrated in May during the Korea Fintech Week 2019 event and has moved into a pilot phase. Shinhan employees can use the payment method after registering their credit cards and taking photos using facial recognition kiosks at the company’s headquarters, according to a report in The Korea Times.

In January Shinhan Card announced that it had signed a memorandum of understanding with BGF Retail, the operator of the CU-branded convenience store chain, to develop futuristic payment methods. According to the BGF Retail website, the company reached a 12,000 store milestone in September 2018, becoming the largest convenience store operator in Korea. The next two largest convenience store chains are 7-Eleven and GS25. T

Shinhan Card is Korea’s largest credit and debit card issuer and also operates under the BC Card brand. Both brands issue cards for the Visa, Mastercard, JCB card networks while BC Card also issues cards for the China Union Pay card network,

Facial recognition-based payments have been gaining notable popularity since its early testing with Mastercard’s “Selfie Pay” which was first tested in 2015. In the same year, Alibaba CEO Jack Ma introduced “Smile to Pay” at the CeBit tech exhibition in Hanover, Germany.

Alipay finally launched “Smile to Pay” in China in 2017 with YUM China, according to Reuters, being an early adopter in an attempt to boost sales at its KFC locations across the country.

China has readily embraced facial recognition as a new way to speed through transit and retail checkout lanes. This year the local subway operator in Shenzhen, China, the country’s tech capital, began piloting facial recognition as a way to pay subway fares according to the South China Morning Post.

Also in January, the city of Wenzhou, China opened its facial recognition payment-based shopping street in coordination with Alipay according to the China Daily. Approximately 20 stores on the Wuma Street shopping district have been outfitted with Alipay’s latest facial recognition solution called “Dragonfly.”

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Biometrics Credit cards South Korea