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Alipay turns to facial and fingerprint recognition for secure payments


Chinese electronic payment service, Alipay, is turning to biometric identification technologies to protect users from fraud, hacking, identify theft and other threats, according to the Wall Street Journal blog.

“Biological identification will become very important in the future,” said Cao Kai, a senior director of Zhejiang Ant Small & Micro Financial Services Group, the Alibaba affiliate that owns Alipay, at a recent conference in Beijing.

Users normally use a number of different screen names and passwords to log into online services, however, Kai said that the person’s real identity and virtual online identity will become synonymous.

Alipay is currently pursuing various biometric technologies, including facial recognition software from Beijing startup Megvii.

Alipay has partnered with Megvii to figure out new ways to integrate its identification methods into Alipay’s Wallet app.

Unlike fingerprint identification, the only hardware facial recognition requires is a camera, which the majority of smartphones already include.

And while most facial identification methods are currently able to achieve a 70% accuracy rate, Megvii co-founder Qi Yin said that its technology is able to achieve an accuracy rate of 91%.

So far, Megvii is working on a way to integrate facial identification into Alipay Wallet’s account-creation and verification process, and not the actual payment process, said Yin.

Previously reported, Alipay recently partnered with Huawei to use the fingerprint sensor in Huawei’s new Ascend Mate 7 smartphone, enabling a more secured way for users to make mobile purchases.

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