You soon may be able to pay with your face. But is it safe?

While some are still learning how to use the digital wallet on their smartphone, a new technology may make our phones obsolete altogether.

Facial recognition, once thought of as a security tool, has reached a breakthrough, according to tech experts who say we may start paying with our faces in places like restaurants – a form of biometric authentication.

"So you're talking about like tens of millions of these tiny little dots that are mapping the individual contours of your face," said Kate Kozuch, managing editor of Tom’s Guide. "They're doing so with this variation of a depth sensor. So, these are 3D scans, which makes them secure and pretty much impossible for a bad actor to try to bypass."

How does it work?

PopID is one of the companies creating the new payment system where customers can register for an account with a selfie and then use facial verification to pay for things like food at takeout spots. 

The company is already testing hundreds of kiosks at businesses across the United States. According to experts, the system is far faster than current payment methods.


Tech firm releases pay-by-face system in California city

Tech company PopID says that it has helped dozens of retailers and restaurants in Pasadena, Calif., establish "the nation’s first dense ‘face-pay’ network."

"Anything that can kind of make these day-to-day transitions and transactions faster will ultimately be successful with customers," Kozuch said.

Still, some frown on the concept.

"Christmas came early for cybercrime and all of the creepy people trying to steal your identity because now, instead of just trying to steal your credit card number and your social security number, they'll be able to pay for purchases using your face," said Albert Fox Cahn, executive director of the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project.

Privacy experts are ringing the alarm, pointing out big companies from Equifax to Microsoft to Facebook have been hacked before and they fear it's just a matter of time before a facial payment company is breached.

They also point out, the better the tech is at capturing our faces, the more our identity is effectively stolen.


Pay with your palm: Amazon One technology coming to all Whole Foods

This means Whole Foods Market customers who choose to use Amazon One will no longer need their wallet or even a phone to pay – they can simply hover their palm over an Amazon One device.

"You can change your credit card number, you can change your social security number, but it takes time," Cahn said. "But you can't change your face. 

In the meantime, tech experts say those who do register to pay with their faces should be using the strongest passwords possible when setting up an account.