Pixel 7 face unlock contactless payments issue
People have gone on Reddit to claim that the Pixel 7 series of smartphones have a ‘flaw’ which does not let them make contactless payments via Google Pay if they have unlocked their phones using the Face Unlock feature. They claim that the smartphone declines their payments and asks them to authenticate the payment via fingerprint sensor.
Pixel 7 series use Class 1 Biometric sensor: What does it mean
The reason for this is the sensor used in the Face Unlock technology. As per information available on a support page under Android Compatibility Definition, “Biometric sensors can be classified as Class 3 (formerly Strong), Class 2 (formerly Weak), or Class 1 (formerly Convenience) based on their spoof and imposter acceptance rates, and on the security of the biometric pipeline.”
Biometric sensors classified as Class 1 have a spoof acceptance rate between 20-30%, for Class 2 it’s 7-20% and for Class 3 it’s
The company says that “for secure activities like app sign-in and making payments on Pixel 7 or Pixel 7 Pro, you can use Fingerprint Unlock or rely on a strong pin or password.” Google even thanks Tensor G2 on Pixel 7 for achieving good facial accuracy performance with the front-facing camera to unlock the phone.
The Face Unlock feature on Pixel 7 series uses the front-facing camera along with machine learning models just to unlock the phones. It does not have the sophisticated technology like Apple’s Face ID and even Pixel 4’s additional hardware to authenticate secure payments.
The problem is not the Class 1 biometric sensor but the way Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro behave when making contactless payments. If the phone is unlocked via Face Unlock feature and the user is trying to make contactless payment, it should not decline it on the basis of the sesnor’s functionality. Rather, it should directly ask users for a pin or pattern or fingerprint sensor to authenticate payment.