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Samsung’s facial recognition tech needs years of work before it will be ready for mobile payments

Galaxy S8 facial recognition

Samsung’s new flagship Galaxy S8 is packed with interesting new features, but a few of them haven’t been received quite as well as the phone maker might have hoped they would be. One of those features is facial recognition, which is perhaps the easiest biometric authentication method to trick.

Considering the security concerns surrounding facial recognition, you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that it will be quite some time before the feature is used for secure mobile payments.

Samsung sources and industry watchers tell The Korea Herald that it could be more than four years before Samsung has improved the facial recognition technology enough to use it with mobile payments. Although it is more convenient than other biometric unlocks, it can still be fooled with a photograph.

“In order for facial recognition to be solely used for financial transactions, it would take more than four years considering the current camera and deep learning technology levels,” a source from Samsung told The Korea Herald. But even when the technology is ready, it’s unclear if Samsung will use it.

“We do not need to use facial recognition for mobile financial transactions because there are already high-level biometric technologies such as iris and fingerprint recognition,” a Samsung spokesperson told The Korea Herald. “The question that when it will be used is meaningless.”

For now, fingerprint and iris scanners aren’t at risk of being replaced, but as the Herald notes, every phone has a camera while many still don’t come equipped with fingerprint scanners. Facial recognition has the potential to be far more convenient than fingerprint scanning could ever be, which is why there’s a chance that the technology could eventually become the new standard.

“Facial and voice recognition will also be mainstream in the future alongside iris and fingerprint. But, it needs more than four to five years for facial recognition to be solely used for financial transactions,” said Jin Seung-heon, a chief of Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute’s information protection research unit. “For the time being, they will be used as additional certification methods.”

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.