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Facial biometric payments startup PayByFace launches a pilot with one of the biggest banks in Bulgaria

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Biometrics are entering the fintech realm and the existence of startups that develop such technologies and early-adopters banking innovators can allow the use of payment biometrics to commercialize and be perceived as the “technology of today”. Very recently the Bulgarian Raiffeisenbank announced the beginning of a biometric payments pilot project with the Romanian fintech startup PayByFace as part of the Visa Innovation Program in order to test the attitudes of local clients towards the novel technology. As of now, the biometrics payment service is available for the clients of restaurant “Luna” at the central office of Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria and the pilot project will continue until the end of April 2021. 

For Raiffeisen Bulgaria, the pilot project is an opportunity to introduce an easier, more attractive, and more secure way of payments for their clients, while for PayByFace the partnership is a chance to win the trust of more users by being associated with the name of an established international banking institution. The Romanian founding team of PayByFace highlights that the Visa Innovation Program of Visa and the Bulgarian early-stage VC fund Eleven Ventures played a key role in the creation and coordination of their partnership with Raiffeisenbank Bulgaria. 

PayByFace in more detail

PayByFace, co-founded by the Romanian serial entrepreneur and university drop-out Mihai Draghici is a facial recognition app for point-of-sale biometric payments and a platform for out-of-home digital signage advertising. The fintech startup provides end-to-end white label solutions for merchants and advertisers and develops several types of biometric point-of-sale software and hardware to meet the needs of its business clients. The specific solutions for merchants include a Smart POS service that accepts NFC payments, traditional swipes, and payments through the PayByFace Merchants Kiosk app, a Signage POS that can be used as an in-store digital promotions screen, and a Mobile POS that allows merchants to take remote payments made through the app. 

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The platform also offers gamification features to engage customers and increase loyalty and retention and Web POS solutions that add biometric authentication to e-commerce stores. The solutions that PayByFace offers to digital advertisers are that it allows them to display their ads on the POS iPad screens at the merchants’ locations and to send targeted customers SMS messages based on geo-fencing. Currently, the out-of-home digital advertising network of the platforms is available at more than 100 locations across Romania and the startup plans to onboard more merchants in the near future. The value-added to the users of the app is that in order to make purchases without using any cash or credit cards, they need to simply add their card and selfies to the PayByFace app and set a PIN code for extra security. 

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Elena is an Innovation Reporter at The Recursive, an online media dedicated to the emerging tech and startup ecosystems in Southeast Europe. She is keen on sharing the innovation stories that shape the regional ecosystem and has a great interest in fintech, IoT, and biotech startups. Elena is currently finishing her Bachelor's Degree in Business Administration and Political Science at the American University in Bulgaria.