Samsung’s Facial Recognition Not Ready for Payment Prime Time

April 28, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

Samsung Pay LogoBad news for anyone hoping for facial recognition as an authentication tool for mobile payments, at least on Samsung devices.

New word out from inside Samsung says that it’s going to be years before the systems are ready to serve as authentication measures, particularly for mobile payments. The good news—if it can be called that—is that the competition isn’t likely to beat Samsung to the punch as all technology is in a similar boat.

Facial recognition has been improving quite a bit lately, and some posited that it could be ready to go as a security measure for even mobile payments in fairly short order.

The word from Samsung, though notes that the current combination of cameras and deep-learning software in play in all devices worldwide is still about four years’ worth of development shy of where it needs to be to succeed.

It’s not that facial recognition doesn’t work, the reports note—it’s good enough for basic security like unlocking phones and such—but rather that it’s not quite good enough for something really sensitive like securing bank information of mobile payment systems that tie into bank information.

It also doesn’t preclude biometrics being used period; Samsung already has payment-grade security using biometrics in the field already with iris scanning and fingerprint detection.

Plus, there’s a clear motivation to develop these systems; since devices almost universally include cameras and microphones, using facial and voice recognition systems can be incorporated readily into every device with only a few software tweaks…once the software is actually ready.

Essentially, facial recognition really doesn’t need to be a part of payment security any time soon. There are already biometrics in place that will do the job, so if it takes a few years of development for facial recognition to bridge the technological gap, then what of it?

Sure, everyone likes the thought of selfie-based security, but it’s not really necessary. We carry our fingers and eyes with us as surely as our faces, and that’s good enough on the convenience side.

So don’t despair, selfie buffs; soon the technology will be on hand that makes this ready for prime time. In the meantime, we’ll have plenty of comparatively convenient, secure measures to protect our mobile payment systems to take advantage of.