Southwestern College Launches Selfie Payments for Students

November 11, 2015         By: Michael Cheng

MasterCard isn’t the only group pushing the boundaries of facial recognition technology.

Southwestern College in Kansas recently added the biometrics feature inside the campus to help students embrace the new payment method.

The school partnered with Lucova, a mobile solutions provider, for the installation of the hardware that runs on Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). Through the FreshX service, students have the option to pay for their food by capturing a selfie during checkout without a smartphone or wallet. The medium also allows individuals to earn loyalty points and rewards.

“When they get to their school’s food checkout area, the POS terminal automatically recognises the customer’s ID based on proximity and pulls up their profile, including image, for the staff member to view and validate,” said a Lucova representative during an interview with NFC World.

To use the technology, students are required to sign up and download the official FreshX app. After installing the app, the system will prompt the user to add a meal card and other payments information. An image is also needed, which the system saves in the database to verify the individual’s facial features during a transaction. The application is available for both iOS and Android platforms.

The hands-free solution has added more value to the cafeteria. Students have been reportedly frequenting the venue, suggesting that schools may need to revisit their revenue strategy to include more perks beyond the standard meal plan card.

“Students are digital natives, who adopt technology quickly – especially when it makes their lives easier,” explained Ara Ehamparam, director of business development at Lucova Inc., Toronto. “Competitive services like Uber Eats, which make buying food off campus quite easy, are challenging college food service providers to find new and innovative ways of keeping students’ business on campus.”