Alibaba Group’s Alipay has launched its “Smile to Pay,” facial-recognition payments technology for commercial use in China allowing Alipay users to authenticate their payments through a facial scan and their mobile phone number in seconds.
, Ant Financial Services Group said Friday.
Ant Financial, the firm that runs Alipa, said the service debuted at a KFC in Hangzhou ending the decade long use of cash, card and ewallets in the payments sector. Alipay said the Smile to Pay option will only be at the KFC KPRO restaurant for pilot and a later expansion to other merchants with time.
According to the firm, Smile to Pay is a multistep process that takes one to two seconds to do a facial scan via a 3D camera over a “live-ness detection algorithm” to identify a user. The firm added that the algorithm can detect shadows and other features thereby blocking hijackers who might use live photos or video. The phone-number check increases user security and the firm also offers loss in the event of theft of a customer’s Smile to Pay account.
In June, South Africa’s Peach Payments partnered with Alipay and ACI Worldwide to bring Alipay acceptance to Africa for the first time. There are possibilities of Alipay expanding across Africa. With its launch in Africa, Alipay’s Smile to Pay will easily triumph over Safaricom’s M-Pesa which is requires PIN and is takes several steps for user to pay hence ruining the entire user experience at merchant stores.