Telia tests 5G and face payments with Finland's OP Bank

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In a double-teamed effort to showcase new technologies, Finnish telecom operator Telia demonstrated the use of 5G wireless service in an open-to-the-public face payments pilot with OP Bank.

The pilot builds on a previous effort by the Helsinki-based OP Bank, where it had been testing face payments in its headquarters restaurant with OP employees and an additional demonstration at the Slush 2018 fintech conference. The pilots leveraged a third-party solution called Pivo Face Payment.

”Besides security, a smooth user experience is important for customers. 5G makes the service faster and is therefore the perfect partner for Pivo Face Payment. We believe that the trial with Telia opens a new window to the future,” Kristian Luoma, head of OP Lab at the bank, said in a blog post.

The pilot was run last week using an ice cream truck in Vallila, Finland, and was later moved to OP Bank’s headquarters.

According to OP Lab, the Pivo Face Payment technology scans people’s faces and turns them into biometric templates consisting of 200 minute data points. The biometric template and credit card details are stored in an OP Bank mobile app, which is then used to communicate when making an in-store purchase. The store needs to have a locked tablet with a front-facing camera that communicates with the customer’s mobile device to validate the biometric template stored on the phone. The transactions take about 7.5 seconds.

Face payment technology is evolving as more financial institutions are exploring its mainstream application for payments. This month, Shinhan Card began a face payments pilot with South Korea’s largest convenience store operator, BGF Retail.

Alipay has supported face payments since 2017, when it launched Smile to Pay in China with YUM China’s KFC restaurants. Smile to Pay is currently in use by tens of thousands of merchants across 300 cities in China. In December Alipay upgraded its face payment technology with the launch of its Dragonfly solution, which is about one-tenth the size of Smile to Pay and does not require an integration with the store’s ERP system.

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