Paytm testing facial recognition as a mode of authentication for payments

Facial recognition is expected to roll out soon on Paytm for Android for unlocking access to the app.

While Paytm has had fingerprint authentication integrated into its app on iOS and Android for a while, it now appears that the digital payments company is planning on introducing facial recognition as well.

As per a report by The Economic Times, Paytm has begun testing a facial recognition tool that can be used to not only unlock the app, but as per company executives, the feature will also allow customers to pay at merchant outlets with the blink of an eye.

An advertisement of Paytm at a road side stall. Image: Reuters

An advertisement of Paytm at a road side stall. Image: Reuters

Taking a page from Apple’s book Paytm intends to curb phishing attacks associated with offline payment modes which try and trick the customer into revealing their passwords. The biometrics-based authentication tool will work similar to how finger authentication works and though we don’t know how secure the tool will be, testing does seem to have already begun. Currently, only the Apple iPhone X supports face-ID integration which lets users authenticate payments by just using your face.

A senior Paytm executive informed on the matter, talking to the publication said, “We have already started testing the face recognition tool among our employees. Once live, Paytm users will be able to log into the app by simply looking at the phone.”

The report adds that the feature is expected to roll out soon on Android for unlocking access to the app. However, offline payments through face recognition will require more scrutiny before it is made available to the public.

The Reserve Bank’s guidelines on digital payments mandates two-step verification for transactions — one is what the payer has on his end (biometric authentication) and the other is what the payer knows (like a regular login password). The face, in the case of Paytm's tool, could be the first factor of authentication. For transactions up to Rs 2,000, RBI allows single-factor authentication.

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