Paying with a Smile

Alibaba Embraces Facial Recognition for Payments

To pay at a KFC store in Hangzhou, China, all you have to do is smile. KFC has introduced a facial recognition system at one of its branches in the city, which lets diners pay by smiling. The unique "Smile to Pay" system, developed by Alibaba's affiliate Ant Financial, debuted at KFC's new health-focussed concept restaurant, called KPRO.

According to Ant Financial, this is the first physical store in the world to apply facial recognition software to process payments. The company says it's confident that this new initiative is completely secure and safe to use.

Diners can pay for food without cash, a credit card or a smartphone. Instead, they scan their face at a self-service kiosk and then enter their mobile phone number as an added level of security.

This service is based on Alipay, a digital payments platform from Ant Financial. Alipay has more than 500 million users worldwide and lets people sign into its app by using facial recognition software.

In China, this type of technology has become an increasingly legitimate way for people to identify themselves at business and government agencies. It's even being used at Beijing's historic Temple of Heaven to stop visitors from stealing rolls of toilet paper. Transport systems are also implementing facial recognition software. For example, China Southern Airlines began deploying it earlier in 2017 to do away with boarding passes for the first time.

Chinese consumers already lead the world in mobile payments, and Alipay, WeChat and Apple Pay are the three platforms with the most traction.

Alibaba has been pushing its vision of the future of commerce, which it believes integrates elements of both online and offline retail. For example, it launched a cashless store in summer 2017 and it operates 10 neighbourhood stores in Shanghai that use a mobile app to optimise the customer experience.

Smile to Pay is a bit of a gimmick, but it should help boost the popularity of Alipay. The company is eager to stay ahead of the curve with innovative technology, especially as Tencent's WeChat Pay — a payment system connected to China's hugely popular WeChat messenger app — is close on its heels.

Payment methods that apply biometrics aren't unique, of course: popular mobile payment services integrate fingerprint sensors, and facial scanning could soon become a secondary form of authentication. Alibaba's solution shows that interest in this space is on the rise, and with Apple expected to introduce facial recognition features at the launch event for its new iPhone this week, this is certainly poised to be a hot technology area.

This entry was posted on September 11th, 2017 and is filed under Services. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Posted By Raghu Gopal On September 11th, 2017

(There are no comments yet)
Leave a Comment

Hot News

Team Tweets

CCS Insight
RT @nickmcquire: My latest blog on our recent US/EU IT Buyer Survey: “#Security, #AI & #Microsoft Are Shaping the #DigitalWorkplace” > Some…
Follow CCS Insight
Shaun Collins
Possibly my favourite Christmas this year. Beautifully written and astonishing detail for understanding the backgro…
Follow Shaun
Ben Wood
Nice piece in @MobileNewsMag about Doro. Exciting time for Doro with Peter Marsden in charge and expansion into new…
Follow Ben
Martin Garner
RT @geoffblaber: China now the only regulatory obstacle to Qualcomm acquisition of NXP. Central to growth & defense from Broadcom https://t…
Follow Martin
Geoff Blaber
RT @Anderson: An ABSOLUTE must read from @nickmcquire for everyone working on end-user enablement, device management, security, or Modern W…
Follow Geoff
Marina Koytcheva
RT @TheEconomist: The number of words a child hears before the age of five helps determine their future. One of our most popular videos of…
Follow Marina
Nicholas McQuire
RT @dgrant4: @nickmcquire Nice research Nic. This is exactly what we are seeing with our digital workspace customers. The move to 'Modern M…
Follow Nicholas
Paolo Pescatore
This looks like a comprehensive #UHD #4K offering from @CANAL_France @canalplusgroupe #LeDécodeurCanal…
Follow Paolo
Kester Mann
Consolidation was always the way ahead for Indian telcos. But tough challenges remain. Today's Daily Insight is wel…
Follow Kester
George Jijiashvili
@vladsavov I pickled my purple brains eastern european style
Follow George
Laura Simeonova
RT @CCSInsight: Optimization for artificial intelligence defines competitiveness in mobile chipsets in 2019 and beyond #ccspredicts https:/…
Follow Laura
Katie Taylor
RT @guardianscience: Scientists make first ever attempt at gene editing inside the body
Follow Katie

Recent Blog Posts

Blog Post
Security, AI and Microsoft Are Shaping the Digital Workplace CCS Insight's IT Buyer Survey Points to Further Market Shift... Read more
Blog Post
India's Big Three Operator Consolidation Is Quickly Changing India's Wireless ... Read more
Blog Post
A Change of Pace LG Ditches the Yearly Phone Release Schedule For Samsung an... Read more
More blog

Latest Company News

Blog Post
Expectations for CES 2018 The Big Trends to Watch at This Year's Show ... Read more
More news