Since 2020, the Bank of Georgia has begun several innovative projects" />

Pay with a smile – how Tbilisi’s new metro system will work

Since 2020, the Bank of Georgia has begun several innovative projects

If at the Avlabari metro station in Tbilisi you will meet a lot of people smiling for no reason, do not be alarmed – these people are just paying for their fare.

Georgia is the first country in Europe where to travel on the subway it is enough to pose in front of the camera.

The payment system uses facial recognition and is already working at Avlabari station. The initiative belongs to the the Bank of Georgia.

How does the system work?

Very simple.  You go to the turnstile and instead of looking for a payment card in your wallet, look at the camera installed there.

After the camera recognizes your face, the fare is automatically deducted from your credit card, the turnstile will open and you will pass into the subway.

What needs to be done to connect to the system?

First of all, you must have a Bank of Georgia card – Visa, Mastercard or American Express

The second stage is entering the image of your face into a common database, which is also very simple – take a selfie in the Bank of Georgia mobile application and attach this photo to the desired card.

After that, your photo enters the database, the camera installed in the subway recognizes you and you can easily “pay with a smile.”

How safe is the system?  After all, can someone look like me and use my card?

This is not possible because the new payment system has gone through all levels of security. Each person’s face is as unique as his fingerprints. Giants such as Amazon and Alibaba are already using this system.  It is safe and certified taking into account the use of 3D cameras and all other security parameters.

Will the face recognition camera will be installed only in the Avlabari metro?

Of course not. During 2020, the Bank of Georgia will install face recognition cameras at other metro stations and not only there.

According to the Bank of Georgia, in 2020 the bank will offer its customers a lot of new products.

For example, in addition to “pay with a smile”, it will become possible to “cash out with a smile” – you go to the ATM, look at the camera, smile, enter the PIN code and get the amount.

Still, it is not clear what advantage this system has.  Paying with a card is so easy already…

In principle, you can pay in cash, no one will be worse off.  But technology goes ahead and saves the most precious thing you have – time.

The “smile by pay” service is much faster – it takes only half a second, it is more comfortable – you do not need to get a card from your pocket, and much safer – you do not need to carry cards with you which entails the risk of losing them.

Another advantage of the system is that you can pay if you forget at home a bank card or a card for travel by public transport.

For example, in China, where this system is already operating in many places, with its help it is possible to avoid huge lines at the ticket office. 

And that’s not all

In 2020, the Bank of Georgia will announce several more new products that will make the services even more comfortable.


 This is the name of the project, which you should be aware of if you have an Android phone and some kind of business.

“Unfortunately, we do not have a terminal” – this phrase, which can still be heard in many stores today, will remain in the past, as with this product cashless payments will become possible even where there is no terminal.

Business owners will no longer be required to buy terminals – just have an Android 5.0 phone with NFC support.  It is this phone that can perform the functions of a terminal. That is, the business owner will be able to accept payments using his smartphone (and he will not have to look for cash to deposit).

Cashing out using a terminal

Another comfortable novelty from the bank is cashing out through the terminal at points of trade and service.

If you realize you don’t have the required amount, you can withdraw cash using the terminal along with the purchase of the thing you need.

For example, you came to the supermarket, bought the products you need and found that you need cash in the amount of 20 GEL [about $ 6.5], but there is no ATM nearby.

In this case, you can cash out the amount using the Bank of Georgia terminal in the same retail facility.

 According to the bank, in 2020 this service will be available in many supermarkets, pharmacies and other retail outlets.

Tips, Tips, and Gratitude

 Call it what you want.  But the main thing is that since 2020 you will no longer be able to get rid of the waiter with the phrase “I have no cash, so I can’t leave a tip.”

With the help of the new product of the Bank of Georgia, it will be possible to leave tips in cafes, bars and restaurants, even if you do not have cash with you.

This problem will be solved by a terminal with the “thank you” function, which will also be available from 2020.

You can ask the Bank of Georgia terminal and leave a tip on it with just one touch of the card.

It will be possible to pay tips by the card of any bank, but only from the terminal of the Bank of Georgia.


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