Facial recognition payments trialed at subway station in ChinaMarie Donlon | March 14, 2019
A subway station in China is trialing a system where riders would pay their fares using facial recognition technology.
According to reports, the trial is currently underway at Futian subway station in the Chinese city of Shenzhen where riders entering the station can scan their faces using the screen where they would typically scan their phones or subway cards. Once confirmed, the subway fare is deducted from a previously linked bank account established before entering the station and following registration of a rider’s face data.
Some obvious benefits of such a system include the elimination of problems like forgotten subway cards and low balances. Yet, the facial recognition technology also means that the rider's journey will be closely tracked. However, people living in China are familiar with hefty surveillance as they move throughout the country. Sophisticated surveillance systems can be found in just about every corner of the country, capturing details about residents including face, age, gender and time spent in the region.
China, well known for its technological prowess, already uses facial recognition for everything from detecting and punishing jaywalkers to using AI to detect unhygienic behaviors in restaurant kitchens. Paying with facial recognition is also not an entirely new concept. Yum China, the operator of such brands as KFC in China was the first company to accept mobile payments using facial recognition technology.
There is currently no word on when and if the facial recognition tech payment system will expand to include other stations throughout the city.