No card, no cash, no problem: Moscow Metro, the busiest subway system in Europe, to introduce ‘FacePay’ technology by end of 2021

The world’s most beautiful subway system is set to become one of the planet’s most high-tech, with Moscow Metro head of security revealing that passengers will soon be able to pay for rides with their faces before the end of 2021.

According to Andrey Kichigin, as reported by Interfax on Tuesday, the Russian capital will implement ‘FacePay’ technology later this year. Currently in testing, it will be available for use at both turnstiles and cash desks. Thus far, test participants have successfully passed through the barriers 2,000 times.

Facial recognition cameras were installed in many metro stations through Moscow last year and are located at payment gates. Although the public cannot yet use the system, it has already been used to catch more than 900 criminal suspects, with the technology also performing a second function of identifying those wanted by the police.

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Similar systems are already in place in some Chinese cities, including the mega-metropolis Zhengzhou, home to over 10 million people. In 2019, the South China Morning Post revealed that nearly 200,000 commuters opted to use the technology in just a couple months. Facial recognition has also been implemented in other Chinese cities, such as technological hub Shenzhen.

In February, Moscow daily Kommersant reported that city authorities would be installing 316 multimedia screens in 85 subway stations around the capital, each containing autofocus-enabled full HD CCTV cameras.

The Russian capital already has a vast network of facial recognition camera technology, which last year made international headlines after being used to catch residents leaving their apartment during the Covid-19 lockdown. Despite the worries about personal security, a survey of Russians last summer revealed that 47 percent of citizens support the system.

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