In May 2022, the Mastercard Smile to Pay scheme was launched. The first pilots will be launched in Brazil, with the intention to launch the technology in the Middle East, Latin America, Asia and Africa. Mastercard is working to build partners in the UK to rollout the technology as part of it’s near-term plan.
The controversial Mastercard programme will allow customers to pay by waving their hand or smiling, in a bid to tap into the £14.4 billion biometrics market.
Mastercard believes these changes will allow for faster payments, cut queues and provide greater security than a standard credit or debit card. It will also allow for more hygienic payments in the aftermath of the pandemic.
If the technology is rolled out in the UK, it will be the first of its kind to be launched in a Western market. China started with biometric-based checkouts in 2017, and the launch of Amazon Go stores in the US have allowed customers to pay with their palm. However, accuracy and bias pose as challenges in the roll of of the facial recognition system, so it may be years before the payment system hits the UK market.
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