Facial-recognition payment features in KFC store
01 September 2017 12:22 GMT

Alibaba's Ant Financial affiliate and KFC China have announced facial-recognition payment will soon be available for customers.

The chains' new KPRO store in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province will be the first to trial the technology.

Ant Financial has offered its facial recognition technology for four years in other services based on the online payment service Alipay. The integration of Alipay's "Smile to Pay" facial recognition payment solution at KFC enables customers to pay without the need to reach for their wallets.

To finish a payment at a KFC outlet, a customer who has an Alipay account can gaze at a 3D webcam that will take a picture and scan the customer's face. The information will be linked to an Alipay account for identification verification while payment information is shown on a display. A click to confirm will finish the payment process.

"We are excited to launch KPRO – an exciting and fresh new concept for young, tech savvy consumers who are keen to embrace new tastes and innovations," said Joey Wat, president and chief operating officer of Yum China.

The integration of "Smile to Pay" at the new KPRO restaurant is the first commercial application of facial recognition payment technology globally.

Li Ziqing, director of the Center for Biometrics and Security Research at the CAS Institute of Automation, said facial-recognition payment offers higher information safety and convenience

Chen Jidong, who is in charge of biometric identification technology at Ant Financial, said Alipay's system reached a success rate much higher than the naked eye and can also verify if facial information collected comes from a picture, video or a real person.

At the annual CeBit tech exhibition in Hanover, Germany in March 2015, Alibaba founder and chief executive Jack Ma first showed off the "Smile to Pay" technology. Alipay has been eager to apply biometric identification and authentication both on- and offline.