China Introduces ATMs With Face Recognition

istock / istock

When it comes to protecting your money (and your identity), passwords and pin numbers are a relatively safe bet. But according to some developers, there's a better, even more secure way: face recognition technology. 

Experts at China's Tsinghua University and Tzekwan Technology have teamed up to bring the world's first face-recognizing ATM to the country. Using biometric authentication, the new machines will observe facial features and use iris recognition in order to compare you to a database of faces. Only if your ID checks out will you be able to access your money. “This technology will ensure the greater security of card owners," Tzekwan chairman and anti-graft expert Gu Zikun explained. 

Of course, this new technology raises some questions. What happens if your appearance becomes altered over time, either as a result of plastic surgery or natural aging? The developers claim the program can identify these changes, but it's unclear how accurately. 

Not everyone is on board with the developers' plan. "It's not very practical," sniffed one user on China's Weibo social network. "Using passwords to access an ATM is safe and convenient, why do we need facial recognition? What if we’re busy and need someone to get money for us with our card?”

China currently also uses fingerprint scanners on some of its cash machines, but generally speaking, biometric ATMs have not been introduced because of the high cost and privacy concerns.