Eurostar has launched its contactless travel trial, allowing customers to complete ticket and passport checks at home, before using biometric face scanners to verify their identity at St Pancras International station.
The high-speed rail operator first announced plans for biometric trials back in June 2020, and identity, payments and data protection firm Entrust recently confirmed that its solution would “soon be piloted in the UK by Eurostar”.
That pilot – named SmartCheck – has now launched, initially for a limited number of invited Business Premier and Carte Blanche ticket holders who are iPhone users.
Eligible customers departing London St Pancras can now scan their identity documentation using their iPhone, and then complete a biometric face scan to verify that they are the genuine holder of that document.
The biometric face verification is then linked to their e-ticket using iProov’s Genuine Presence Assurance technology.
On arrival at St Pancras the customer is able to use a dedicated SmartCheck lane, where their face is scanned to verify identity. A second face scan takes place at the UK Exit Check, with no sharing of tickets or documentation required.
Eurostar said that the aim of the service will be to “eliminate queues and expedite the boarding process to further improve customer satisfaction, especially for frequent travellers”.
Earlier this year we covered a report by US publication Trains, which suggested that time-consuming checks at immigration as a result of Brexit could lead to extended check-in times, so the SmartCheck technology will be welcome news for travellers.
Andrew Bud, Founder and CEO of iProov said that “The days of rooting around in your bag for your passport or hoping that your phone battery doesn’t run out before you show your e-ticket at the gate are over”.
“It’s effortless and convenient while also delivering the reassurance and security that travellers expect,” Bud added.
Meanwhile Gareth Williams, strategy director and company secretary, Eurostar, commented:
“We are committed to working closely with governments to introduce new tools and technology that streamline the check in and border process.
“Face biometric technology, which we start trialling today, is a fast and contactless solution which will enable secure passenger checks to take place more efficiently and provide a seamless start to the Eurostar customer journey.”