Chinese developers have gone a step ahead in protecting against ATM fraud and theft by incorporating face-recognition technology into the cash-dispensing machine.
Developers from Tsinghua University in Beijing and Tzekwan Technology, a company in Hangzhou focusing on financial security protection, unveiled the world's first face-recognition ATM at a press conference Saturday.
The machine scans the user's face to verify if the person is indeed the owner of the card by using a process called biometric authentication. Using an ID database, the machine scans the user's facial features and iris and searches for a match in the database. If the card user's features do not match the photo used in opening the account, the card user will not be able to withdraw money.
The machine can detect if a card user's features have changed and can still correctly identify the person, according to the developers.
The technology was developed in response to the Chinese government's emphasis on strengthening financial and information security.
"This technology will ensure the greater security of card owners," Tzekwan Chairman Gu Zikun said, The Telegraph reports.
The unveiling of the new ATMs has garnered mixed reactions. On the Chinese social media platform Weibo, people expressed their skepticism about the machine's ability to correctly identify a person.
"Time can change faces, especially of those who love plastic surgery," one person commented.
"It's not very practical. Using passwords to access an ATM is safe and convenient, why do we need facial recognition?" another person said, according to The Telegraph.
The ATMs have passed certification and will soon be available for use.
"Our facial recognition technology has passed the certification by authoritative industry experts and is authorized to be used in the financial services industry," said Gu, Mail Online reports.
There is one major disadvantage of using ATMs fitted with face-recognition technology: only the actual account holders can withdraw funds from their account; they cannot ask friends or family to get money for them.
Aside from offering protection against card theft, the new ATMs boast of having 20 percent more accuracy in detecting fake bills. They can also exchange the Chinese Yuan to 256 other currencies.