OP Financial Group first in Finland to pilot facial recognition payments

OP’s employees will be the first in Finland to trial facial recognition payments at the firm’s staff restaurant in OP’s premises in Vallila, Helsinki. The payment ecosystem is being rapidly disrupted, and facial recognition payments are expected to be the next big trend.

Facial recognition payments are based on biometric identification. The technology compares the customer’s face to a face map captured on camera. After the customer’s face has been identified, the payment itself is simple: no mobile phone, payment card, cash or other traditional payment method will be needed. This makes paying quick and easy. 

- Facial recognition payments aren’t really being used in Finland or even in the Western world, but at OP we believe in its ease of use and reliability. We are conducting the trial to better understand how the technology could be applied going forward, says Harri Nummela, OP Executive Vice President, Banking, Private and SME customers. 

Facial recognition payments are expected to be the next big global trend in payments. Customers have been very pleased with facial recognition payment in international pilots. The technology used in facial recognition payment can be used in other applications too. 

- For example in China, the technology is used to identify customer loyalty benefits and in access control. We can also see broader opportunities for application. As the technology is new, it is important to collect feedback on any fears and apprehensions users may have. Based on what we learn, we will then be able to take the right next steps in development, says Kristian Luoma, Head of OP Lab. 

The pilot is already underway at OP premises in Vallila, Helsinki, and employees have enthusiastically welcomed the new payment method. The users participating in the pilot can currently use facial recognition when paying for e.g. lunch. 

- The initial feedback has been very encouraging. The employees have been surprised how convenient the method is and how smoothly the new checkout works. Unlike with, say, mobile payments, customers don’t have to get their wallet or smartphone out to complete the transaction. Through the pilot, we can assess when the technology could be ready for rollout to the general public, says Nummela. 

The popularity of facial recognition payments is expected to grow considerably in Finland as well. Facial recognition payments are based on a reliable payment system and facial recognition technology. 

The pilot is being conducted at the Antell restaurant at OP’s Vallila premises in Helsinki, in collaboration with Visa. 

– Biometric verification plays a highly important role in Visa's innovation development, and facial recognition is one of its most promising technologies. We are enthusiastic about this opportunity that enables us to gain experience for the development of the technology, says Vesa Tukonen, Country Manager, Visa Europe, Finland. 

Further information and requests for interviews:
OP Communications, viestinta@op.fi, tel. +358 50 5239904