March 16, 2015
The e-commerce giant Alibaba is adding an exciting feature to its mobile payment system. Alipay will soon allow users to enable payments by scanning their face with a smartphone. Alibaba’s CEO announced the technology at the recently held CeBit tech trade fair, as reported by CNBC. The new service, called Smile To Pay, is currently in its beta phase. Alibaba’s subsidiary firm and financial arm Ant Financial is developing the face recognition technology for use with the Alipay online payment service and Alipay Wallet as well.
The annual transaction value of both online and mobile payments is expected to reach $4.7 trillion by 2019, according to research by Juniper. Alibaba is certainly trying hard to gain a substantial share of this opportunity. For companies like Alibaba, authentication techniques are always on their minds in order to make mobile payments safer. Mobile wallets like Apple Pay use fingerprint technology, while a company called Delta ID showcased iris recognition technology for payments at the Mobile World Congress this year. Now Alibaba is coming up with another innovative idea of its own.
Alibaba is also developing some additional verification techniques. One such technique involves a vocal method where the user speaks a trigger phrase. Another technique, called Kong Fu, would require the user to verify payments by scanning something like a tattoo. There are no current insights on the official launch of the Smile To Pay service, but it will likely witness its first launch in China.
Considering authentication techniques, Alipay had earlier integrated Touch ID and it also supports fingerprint verification for some Android devices. Alipay has enjoyed massive growth in recent times. The service now handles more than 80 million transactions per day, and is boasting over 300 million registered users and over 190 million downloads of its wallet app.
Alipay is contributing to the payments revolution in China in a big way. Since its inception in December 2004, the company has handled more than 42.3 billion payment settlements. The company is helping Chinese consumers pay for online shopping purchases, utility bills, credit card bills, mobile recharges, and many more goods and services.
Alipay certainly has the power to take this new face recognition technology forward and influence further promotion of this technology.