Apr 11

Image: X5 Retail Group

X5 Retail Group, Russia’s largest food retailer, announced today it has partnered with leading domestic lender Sber and Visa to begin accepting biometric payments at some of its supermarkets and proximity stores. This is the first large-scale biometrics payment rollout in European retail.

The cutting-edge payment option it calls “pay with a glance” service is already available at self-service checkout terminals in 52 Perekrestok supermarkets and 150 more stores will be added by the end of March. While the exact schedule for further scaling and implementation will depend on the results of the first stage of the rollout, some 3,000 Perekrestok and Pyaterochka stores may adopt biometric payments by end of 2021, according to X5.

The checkout terminals use a 3D camera with high detection accuracy and depth capture, allowing for easy and quick facial recognition that takes into account a person’s height and changes in appearance. This high-resolution camera ensures security and prevents spoofing, the company said, and the shoppers’ biometric data is also safe. It is stored at Sber and transmitted via highly secure channels in an encrypted form. No other companies working on this project have access to the biometric data.

“Our ambition to develop innovative payment methods is shared by our partners, who are as eager to introduce them as we are. You don’t need cash, bank cards, or smartphones to use the service – all you need to do is ‘present’ your face and the payment will be posted,” said Igor Shekhterman, CEO of X5 Retail Group.

“This is a fast, convenient and secure technology of the future, and we are among the first to be introducing it in Russia and worldwide,” Shekhterman continued. “I’m convinced that contactless biometric payment solutions will very soon be used universally, and this payment method will become as customary as paying with a bank card or a smartphone.”

China’s Alipay, part of Ant Group Co. and its rival WeChat Pay, run by Tencent Holdings Ltd, offer biometric payment options to customers. Paying via facial recognition devices is also available in some parts of the United States, including Pasadena, California, where some 25 retail outlets and restaurants have adopted this technology.

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