The Korea Herald


T-Money ups ‘untact’ efforts with facial recognition plans

By Kim Hae-yeon

Published : Jan. 22, 2021 - 13:41

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An employee walks through the “face recognition payment system” at one of the gates in Ui-Sinsol line. (Courtesy of T-Money) An employee walks through the “face recognition payment system” at one of the gates in Ui-Sinsol line. (Courtesy of T-Money)
Public transportation in urban cities has been one of the central places of anxiety and fear amidst the COVID-19 era, since physical contact with other people is unavoidable, especially during rush hours.

Korea Smart Card says it is trying to reduce these concerns with a “face recognition payment system” that eliminates the need to tap in with a card or a phone.

This pilot scheme of instant tag-less payment introduces a safer and more efficient non-contact payment method, it said.

The new payment system has been introduced at 22 gates in 13 stations on the Ui-Sinsol line, starting off with a pilot operation for employees and officials of designated stations.

Since July 2020, the Seoul Metropolitan Government has encouraged strategies and to create an “untact public transportation system” in COVID-19. “Untact” is a word coined in 2018 to describe trends toward reduced face-to-face contact in services.

During the pilot period, T-Money plans to speed up its commercialization by tracking and improving the actual payment speed of facial recognition payments. The company takes pride in the fact that the system accurately recognizes users without them having to lower their masks.

T-money’s face recognition payment will be available in the future to users who follow the three steps: (1) downloading the T-money mobile application, (2) registering the user’s face through the camera, (3) linking it to the user’s payment method.

The payment will be made automatically when passengers go through the gate while looking at the screen.

Kim Sun-kyun, manager of T-Money’s PR division, told The Korea Herald, “It is true that citizens are nowadays reluctant to take out their wallets and tap the card, or pay for tokens in vending machines, with growing sensitivity ever since the appearance of COVID-19.”

Kim added that the idea of simply showing your face to hop onto public transportation, would save both time and the risk of being exposed to COVID-19, and other potentially infectious diseases.

By Kim Hae-yeon (