Chinese consumers are using their smartphones to pay for everything from taxis to food, making security all the more important there. Alipay, China's largest digital payment service, run by retail giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., said it will focus on biometric technologies that use fingerprint and face identification to stem fraud.
Identifying customers biologically "will become very important in the future,” Cao Kai, a senior director of the Alibaba affiliate that owns Alipay, said Wednesday, according to the Wall Street Journal.
In China, Alipay has demonstrated cash registers that would allow someone to pay merely with their fingerprints. Instead of a plethora of usernames and passwords to identify ourselves online, Cao said a person's online persona and real one will eventually coincide with one another.
Alibaba, like Apple Inc., is looking toward biometric tech to secure its devices. Alipay is also teaming up with Huawei to work on mobile payments through a fingerprint reader found in the manufacturer's Ascend Mate 7. Apple is expected to roll out its new Pay service for iPhones in the next week.
Alipay, however, is already looking at facial recognition: it has partnered with a Beijing-based startup called Megvii to incorporate identification methods into the company's digital Wallet, the Wall Street Journal reports.