Chinese E-commerce Giant poised to adopt Biometric Security for M-payments

Alipay, the online payment service by alibaba, recently announced collaboration with Huawei to bring mobile payments using fingerprints as verification. The new biometric enabled payment service would firstly be launched on Huawei’s upcoming smartphone Ascend Mate 7 which is embedded with the fingerprint sensor and would be debuting at IFA 2014 later this week. Alipay had also started the fingerprint authentication service on Samsung Galaxy S5.

A simple swipe on the biometric sensor would enable the user to make payments and conduct transactions using Alipay accounts. Alipay is also considering other phone models for its fingerprint based authentication system. Because of the government’s ban on QR code based payment service, Alipay is counting on the biometric based payment as an alternative. The People’s Bank of China had halted code scanning payments citing reasons that it is closely linked to consumer’s personal information and assets security.

To make the service more effective, Huawei would be using a specific type of technology from preventing third-party apps to read the user’s fingerprints. With handset makers like Apple and Samsung promoting fingerprint sensors, even brick-&-mortar banks in China are looking forward for its commercial use. Tencent is also looking forward to integrating fingerprint payment into its instant messaging app WeChat.

Alipay users can find the biometric feature in the Alipay Wallet app which currently has over 100 million users. Huawei will provide a chip-level security for the Mate 7 which would enable fingerprint data to be stored on the phone in encrypted form. Huawei will use high-level encryption and verification to ensure that only approved third-party apps like Alipay Wallet can access the fingerprint data. Alipay is also providing Alipay Wallet as an open platform to enable merchants and software developers to use programming tools to create online stores within the app.

Earlier this year, Alipay had claimed that they had reached a total transaction volume of $150 billion in 2013 with more than 2.78 billion transactions conducted on Alipay Wallet. The integration of fingerprint technology into the wallet would really give a boost to the biometric authentication based mobile payment market. According to Biometrics Research Group, mobile commerce adoption will accelerate due to impending wide-scale integration of biometric technology into smartphone.

According to data from data analysis and online tracking firm iResearch, the total transaction volume by independent mobile payments services from China increased by 707%, rising to $201.2 Billion (1219.74 Bn Yuan) in 2013. Its surprisingly high. Alipay, a subsidiary of alibaba, accounted for 75 percent of the country’s mobile payment market as of June.

Some of the other companies doing interesting work with biometric payments and authentication:


The Electronic Access Control Market is estimated to reach $16.3 Bn by 2017 and is increasing at a CAGR of 7% according to On 2nd December 2013, Zwipe launched a biometric access card with fingerprint touch sensors with the help of a firm called Fingerprint Cards. The new card is ISO 14443 compliant and is multi-functional.

This is a video that shows you what Zwipe is all about:

  • The Zwipe Access card features on-card fingerprint matching utilizing fingerprint touch sensors from Fingerprint Cards (FPC).
  • The Zwipe Access card enables unique customer adaptation through multi-application functionality.
  • It is also ISO 14443 compliant, which allows the card to work with existing access control infrastructure and contactless readers.
  • Fingerprint data is stored inside the secure card and a positive match activates encrypted communication with a lock or reader.
  • Only the owner of the card can activate the card, rendering lost or stolen cards inoperable.


Teasy Mobile, a Nigerian mobile payments provider will soon equip its mobile money agents with POS terminals that use biometric technology to verify a consumer and NFC to allow them to make a payment. VeriFone Mobile Money is a joint venture between Verifone and Mobilis Networks.

  • Verifone Mobile Money will provide Teasy Mobile with its Verifone Mobile Money wallet solution and retail switch.
  • Teasy will also work closely with local industry players to roll out Verifone contactless POS devices as part of the solution.
  • Merchants will be using Verifone’s VX520 POS system and Teasy will also enable agents to use NFC phones running a merchant app to process payments.
  • Consumers will be able to make payments using an NFC phone or with an NFC tag, supplied by Israel-based labeling solutions provider Tadbik.

When paying with a registered Teasy wallet. The merchant keys in the amount of the desired transaction type — purchase, deposit, withdrawal, etc — on the POS terminal. The customer taps the phone on the POS, followed by entering a PIN and it’s done. Biometric data can be used as an extra [know your customer] requirement for certain transaction values.

We are very excited with the market opportunity this solution will bring us. We believe that, while the market is growing quickly for mobile wallets, we will be able to roll out a mixture of point of sale and mobile wallet technology, thus capturing all points at which the customer will transact, said Teasy’s Musa Ali Baba. VeriFone Mobile Money has provided a very advanced yet easy-to-use solution to Teasy that will add value to the Nigeria Cashless Vision and allow for alternative and easier ways to make payments benefiting Nigeria and the industry as a whole, and we are very excited to enter into this partnership, he added.


At the Mobile World Congress 2014, Samsung and PayPal made a big splash right away. It was revealed that the Galaxy S5, Samsung’s new flagship smartphone (which includes biometric security as well as NFC) can be used to make payments at any merchant that accepts PayPal in store or online.

  • The PayPal app will allow Gear 2 owners to check-in to pay at local stores, save and redeem offers and receive payment notifications while on the go.
  • The only information the device shares with PayPal is a unique encrypted key that allows PayPal to verify the identity of the customer without having to store any biometric information on PayPal’s servers, according to Ferguson.
  • Consumers will be able to use the eBay and PayPal apps on the new Gear 2 watches beginning in April.


PulseWallet, an Electronic transaction POS provider, demonstrated their innovative cardless POS solution at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) international between the 7th and 10th of January, 2014 in Las Vegas. Its solution already enables users to pay for products with just their finger but the problem with that setup is that the fingerprints can potentially be lifted according to the company.

Now PulseWallet is converting to a more secure biometric technology that combines data on palm vein patterns with fingerprint data from three fingers. PulseWallet partnered with Fujitsu Frontech to make use of their PalmSecure biometric technology. The integrated PalmSecure vein imaging technology allows merchants to provide a secure payment option, whilst giving users an all-in-one payment system for them to access their eWallets.

  • After the customer visits a store once, he can register his palm and link it to the credit card of his choosing.
  • Then, the store will have it on record the next time the user visits the outlet.
  • For payment, the user can swipe his palm, after which he will be required to enter his phone number to verify it’s really him.


YC backed startup PayTango, seeks to enable customers to pay via Fingerprint Scan. PayTango was Co-Founded by 4 CMU (Carnegie Mellon University) graduates – Brian Groudan, Kelly Lau-Kee, Umang Patel (CEO) and Christian Reyes in August 2012. The company has received a total funding of $700K through investors Y-Combinator and Andreessen Horowitz in Seed Round.

PayTango’s system links a form of payment such as debit or credit card, to a user’s fingerprint. He will then have to only place his index finger and middle finger on the biometric fingerprint scanner to make payment. The software immediately recognizes the user.

  • To setup a new account with PayTango, students and other customers can register at the terminal when checking out.
  • The registration process is completed when the user scans their fingerprints, slides the debit or credit card that they would like to be linked with the account and finally enters their phone number.
  • The payment method (credit/debit) that is linked with the user’s fingerprint is tied directly to a merchants POS system and is charged for the purchase automatically.
  • In addition, the fingerprints could be linked to a retailers discount or loyalty program. This would enable the user to avoid another scan during checkout.
  • The entire process takes approximately 6 seconds according to the company. Signing up process is around 20 seconds – it was fast enough for 100 students to sign-up within four hours on the Carnegie Melon campus.


In October 2013, Danal, a Korean service provider, developed a technology to allow payments with the help of fingerprint technology. Danal partnered with the fingerprint technologies of Crucialtec to create the BarTong. It utilizes Fingerprint Cards capacitive fingerprint sensor FPC 1080. CrucialTec is one of Fingerprint Cards module partners but they also work with DreamTech, LiteOn, Parteon and Fujikura among others.

The technology has been loaded onto Pantech’s VEGA LTE-A smartphone. For consumers to use the feature they will have to download an app called BarTong. This will enable the phone to work as a debit card or simple cash in case of convenient stores. The four digit pin is no longer required.

Danal had introduced ‘Bartong’ barcode payment, in early March 2011, where users could easily and quickly generate a barcode. This could be used by merchants with the help of a standard barcode scanner, and process a payment quickly and easily. At the point of sale, a user did not have to bring their credit card or cash to make a purchase.