Asia: Alipay enables 'Smile to Pay' in China

  • By Grace Christianty, RFi Group - Asia
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Ant Financial Group, an online payment service provider behind Alipay recently introduced a new payment method – “Smile to pay”. Alipay customers can authenticate a payment just by smiling.

A 3D camera will scan the customer’s face for verification, before proceeding with the payment within seconds. Customers can opt for additional verification through phone number, and this phone verification can be opted out if they find it unnecessary.

This payment service has been rolled out as a pilot project in KFC fast food outlets in Hangzhou. Ant Financial Group, an online payment service provider behind Alipay recently introduced a new payment method – “Smile to pay”.

Customers can opt for additional verification through phone number, and this phone verification can be opted out if they find it unnecessary. This payment service has been rolled out as a pilot project in KFC fast food outlets in Hangzhou.

When being prompted on how accurate the camera can be in identifying a face, Alipay has done some test using disguise methods. Ant Financial released a video which shows that customers are being accurately identified although they are wearing makeup or wigs, as the scan is focuses on recognizing the customer’s face structure.

This “Smile to pay” technology marks the first face recognition technology in the world to verify a payment, which further eliminates the need to tap a phone or physical card to make a payment.

According to RFi Group data, apart from cash, Alipay is the most common payment method in China, with around 7 out of 10 banked customers in China using Alipay in the last 12 months. The added features of “Smile to pay” will likely increase Alipay’s usage in the future.