The Moscow Metro has announced the full launch of its new Face Pay service, which enables passengers to pay their fares using facial biometrics at all metro stations.

The news was announced by the deputy mayor of Moscow for Transport, Maksim Liksutov, in his personal column on October 15. The new system has been fully tested by passengers and employees of Moscow for Transport since the beginning of 2021.

To use the new payment technology, passengers connect their Troika transport card and bank card to the Moscow Metro mobile app, and then upload their image. The payment procedure works the same as when passengers pass through a turnstile using a bank card. Passengers approach the turnstile, a camera captures their image, verifies it and then the passenger can pass through.

According to the Moscow Metro, all data is securely encrypted. The live technology also distinguishes a real face from a photograph making it impossible for passengers to pay for rides using images of other people.

In his column, Liksutov said that at some stations, which have less light, the system might operate a little slower, “much like a smartphone camera that needs more time to recognize a person in the dark or in a poorly lit place,” he wrote.

According to Liksutov, Moscow city is the largest user of biometric payments in the world. Due to the variety of payment methods, over the past 10 years, the queues at the metro ticket offices have decreased by 3.3 times, and with the launch of Face Pay, they are set to reduce even more.

According to the forecasts of the Moscow Department of Transport, in the next two to three years, 10-15% of passengers will regularly use Face Pay. The Moscow Metro will adjust the number of turnstiles for Face Pay if the demand for the new service grows. Currently, at least one turnstile has been installed at each station entrance, with some stations having up to three.

Within a day after the launch, about 25,000 people registered for the Face Pay service.

Maksim Liksutov, the deputy mayor of Moscow for Transport using Face Pay:

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