Alipay has now launched facial recognition for user authentication on its mobile app. Users with iOS and select Android devices can now use the system for biometric login.
The system has been a long time in the making. Reports first emerged of a facial recognition-based system called ‘Smile to Pay‘ back in March of this year, and in May a company called Face++ announced that it had raised $47 million in a Series B Funding round for a facial recognition platform it was developing in collaboration with Ant Financial, an Alipay subdivision. While fingerprint recognition has, over the last year, become the dominant means of biometric authentication for mPayment platforms—largely through the pioneering efforts of Apple’s Touch ID system—it’s possible that Alipay wanted to distinguish itself with a unique form of user authentication, or that the company was concerned about fingerprint scanning’s susceptibility to spoofing.
That isn’t to say facial recognition is necessarily much safer: questions have been raised about the security of systems like Android’s Face Unlock against spoofing, for example, though those criticisms are actively being addressed by current facial recognition vendors. In a recent article China Daily reports that Alipay’s system reached “a success rate of over 90 percent during the experimental beta phase”; it’s now up to users whether that kind of accuracy is adequate for their mPayments.
Source: China Daily