August 9, 2023

Each year, Eurostar faces the challenge of processing 11 million people through a space no larger than 3 tennis courts – a task further complicated by manual ticket checks and UK exit check delays.

iProov and Eurostar have been working tirelessly on a solution that reduces processing time and creates a seamless user experience for travelers – which has now officially been launched under the name SmartCheck.

As Andrew Bud (iProov’s Founder and CEO) articulates: “this is the first time remote enrollment and facial verification have been used in the railway industry anywhere in the world”.

SmartCheck enables contactless travel at London St Pancras International Station by utilizing cutting-edge biometric facial and remote identity verification technology. Eligible travelers can now use a dedicated lane that replaces the traditional manual check-in and border exit check, by making your face your ticket.

SmartCheck is the future of border crossing, enabling travelers to complete the ticket and UK exit checks carried out by Eurostar staff in the station in less than 2 seconds.

In this article, we summarize what to expect with the Eurostar SmartCheck process, explain how the technology works, and bring to life the many advantages of this innovative solution.

How Does Eurostar SmartCheck Work?

In short, Smartcheck enables you to travel without needing a physical ticket– you breeze through the gate using your face!

How does this work? Eligible customers departing from London St Pancras can pre-onboard themselves using their mobile device from any convenient location.

You upload a picture of your passport, complete a brief facial scan to verify that you are the genuine holder of that document, and you’re good to go.

This process links your passport, your face, and your ticket together securely and effortlessly. Doing so ensures that on the day of travel, you can simply show up at Eurostar St. Pancras International station and walk through the designated SmartCheck biometric corridor rather than present tickets.

iProov’s national-grade security technology works behind the scenes to defend against spoofs and other threats, such as presentation attacks and digital injection attacks – ensuring that only the intended user can pass through the dedicated lane.

Essentially, the solution works in two parts: remote enrollment on the user’s device before travel, and then physical access on-site. The result is a contactless, fast, and secure journey that enhances the overall passenger experience.

Ultimately, this means passengers avoid manual checks of tickets and passports by Eurostar staff and enter via a facial verification system. All that’s left to do is go via baggage check and pass through the French Border Control before enjoying your Eurostar journey.

This process ensures exit checks and ticket checks are done in one easy step rather than queuing at each point – it does not eliminate them. With SmartCheck, technology is doing the work, ensuring maximum convenience for the end-user. Additionally, SmartCheck is completely optional. It’s there for those that choose to opt in.

How Do I Use Eurostar SmartCheck?

Let’s breakdown the Eurostar Smartcheck workflow into a few simple steps:

  1. Install the SmartCheck app onto your mobile device from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.
  2. Enter your details and scan your identity documentation, as guided by the app.
  3. Link your e-tickets in the app using a brief biometric facial verification scan.
  4. Up to 24 hours before departure, confirm you’re traveling in the app.
  5. On the day of travel, simply walk through the dedicated SmartCheck lane at London St Pancras.

Note: The identity verification process can be completed in a matter of minutes at the station. However, we’d recommend downloading the app and completing the identity verification process at least one day before your scheduled departure – at a time when you have a good internet connection. This ensures you are completely prepared for your journey prior to travel.

What Are the Advantages of Using Eurostar Smartcheck?

  • Save time and avoid queues: Reduce time and avoid frustration at St Pancras Station caused by congestion and bottlenecks, which can lead to slow and delayed entry.
  • Improved user and staff experience: Contactless entry is far simpler, enabling fast, secure, hassle-free access to the end-user and less processing for staff/attendants – enabling them to focus their time on providing high-value services to individuals. It’s more enjoyable for travelers, who face less stress by sorting their ticket and the UK-side passport checks prior to arrival. Additionally, the saved labor hours can be put towards other opportunities, such as increased customer personalization.
  • Reduce manual checks: Manual checks can increase the likelihood of complications – such as processing time, mistakes, or even forgotten/lost tickets.
  • Threat protection through privacy-preserving technology: SmartCheck demonstrates how consent-based biometrics can dramatically reduce manual checking, congestion, and provide the highest level of identity assurance with advanced threat protection in a privacy-preserving way. This means only the necessary data is processed and used to verify an individual’s identity and then allowing correct access at the station.
  • Reusable digital travel credential: Once you’ve enrolled with Eurostar SmarthCheck on the app, each subsequent time you travel with Eurostar from St. Pancras International, you’ll only need to add your ticket for travel – which will be linked to your digital travel credential held within the app. This supports ongoing convenience for returning travelers and staff alike.

Who Can Use Smartcheck? Where Can They Travel To?

Travelers can remotely verify without regard to cognitive ability, nationality, or ethnicity. There’s no need for special hardware; travelers can verify themselves on any device with a user-facing camera. However, in accordance with GDPR regulations, SmartCheck cannot be used by children under 16.

SmartCheck is currently available from London St Pancras to all routes covered by Eurostar: Paris, Brussels, and Amsterdam.

SmartCheck Data Privacy

The app uses the latest encryption techniques and pseudonymizes data, capturing only the necessary information to verify your identity.

Your verified information is securely stored in your smartphone, and it’s only shared with ticket gates and passport control systems when you travel. It will then be stored for 48 hours maximum and deleted after travel. All personal data is processed in compliance with GDPR, with full passenger consent.

Eurostar Smartcheck is entirely optional – travelers do not need to use the expedited process if they do not wish to.

From the technical side, SmartCheck incorporates iProov’s Biometric Solution Suite using Biometric checkpoints and facial verification, alongside Inverid’s ReadID NFC technology, and Entrust’s Identity Verification as a Service (IDVaaS) technology for identity orchestration and digital travel credential (DTC) management.

Read The Eurostar SmartCheck FAQ

Please refer to this page for any further questions you may have about Eurostar Smartcheck.

Eurostar SmartCheck provides a glimpse into the future of contactless border technology. If you have further queries about physical access solutions enabled by biometric facial verification technology, you can contact us here or directly book an iProov demo today.

Image of two travellers using the Eurostar Smartcheck Biometric Check-in System For Contactless Travel