SnapPay: pay with your 'money maker'

By Harry Menear
Today, Toronto FinTech firm SnapPay announced the launch of new payment authentication technology using facial recognition. The solution was made availa...

 Today, Toronto FinTech firm SnapPay announced the launch of new payment authentication technology using facial recognition. The solution was made available to North American merchants as part of an initiative to further increase levels of convenience for retail customers. 

SnapPay demonstrated the technology today at the Retail Council of Canada’s Retail West Show, at the Hyatt Regency Vancouver, and will do so again at next week’s Grocery Innovations Canada (GIC) show in Toronto.

“Facial recognition technology is an increasingly popular method of payment among global consumers,” said Spencer Xu, CEO and founder of SnapPay. “By enabling consumers to pay with their ‘face’, North American merchants, particularly those with self-service kiosks, are providing an unprecedented level of convenience and speed in the checkout process, to a lucrative customer segment that increasingly demands it.” 

The facial recognition technology powering SnapPay’s app has been bought from “Asia”, and can successfully trigger and complete the payment transaction with a simple 3-D snapshot of the user’s face, as allowing merchants to make opting into things like loyalty programs easier. 

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Juniper Research forecasts that mobile biometrics will authenticate $2trn worth of in-store and remote mobile payments transactions a year by 2023, driven by over 2,500% growth.Alongside this explosion of financial potential, the facial recognition market is projected to double to $9bn between 2018 and 2024, according to Mordor Intelligence, a consulting and advisory firm.

“Retailers in Canada are eager to explore technologies that will help improve the retail experience for their customers. SnapPay is a very interesting new player offering new solutions in the Canadian payments ecosystem. We’re looking forward to being first to see this new technology in use at Retail West,” said Mary Markou, Senior Director, Sponsorship Retail Council of Canada.

The trend of ‘paying with your face’ has been growing dramatically in China and other Asian market over the past few years, driven largely by Alipay, the financial division of Alibaba, which has championed mass adoption of the technology. 

“I don’t even have to bring a mobile phone with me, I can go out and do shopping without taking anything,” Bo Hu, CIO of Wedome bakery, which uses facial payment machines across hundreds of stores, said in an interview with the Guardian last month. 

“This was not possible either at the earliest stage of mobile payment – only after the birth of facial recognition technology can we complete the payment without anything else,” he continued.

Whether this adoption proves successful in the North American market - where distrust of biometric recognition devices is higher than elsewhere - remains to be seen. 

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