European Pixel 7 owners can use the not-so-secure Face Unlock system for payments without worries

European Pixel 7 owners can use not-so-secure Face Unlock for payments without worries
The Face Unlock feature has returned with the Pixel 7 range after not being included in the Pixel 6 and Pixel 5, but it's not as secure as the Pixel 4's facial recognition system. Google had earlier said that the feature was only for unlocking the phones and not for high-stakes stuff like access to apps like password managers or authenticating mobile payments. It now looks like Google has loosened up the restrictions around contactless payments in one continent. 

The Pixel 4 came with dedicated hardware that was capable enough to protect against spoof attacks and even worked well in darkness. The Pixel 7, on the other hand, relies on the wide-angle front camera and machine learning wizardry for biometrics. For secure apps, you must use the fingerprint scanner.

In short, even though both Face ID systems can identify you during logins, it's harder to fool the Pixel 4. While that's annoying on its own, users were doubly irritated to find that if they unlocked their phones with the Face Unlock feature and then tried to make a payment, the payment was declined without any explanation and they were then prompted to unlock the device again via the fingerprint sensor.

XDA Developers'  Adam Conway has discovered that consumers in Europe don't have to worry about going through these issues, thanks to a European Banking Authority (EBA) rule that allow consumers to make up to five unprotected contactless payments before needing strong customer authentication such as a fingerprint. It will be possible to perform more than five transactions using face unlock if the sum of the transactions is below €150, or €100 in some cases.

This sounds like a sensible way to go about the problem. The Pixel 7 has a spoof acceptance rate of 20 to 30 percent so even if someone does break into your phone, €150 is not an earth-shattering amount for most people.

Whether Google will adopt something similar in the US and other markets is not known, but will certainly be appreciated and increase Pixel 7's chances of becoming the best phone of the year as this is an indispensable feature for cashless societies.

Recommended Stories

Loading Comments...
FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless