China's Explosive Growth in Facial Recognition Payment

When I visited my hometown Hangzhou, China this past winter for a wedding, I had the chance to experience Alibaba's famous Dragonfly device at a local store. It is roughly one-tenth of the size of traditional self-service POS machines, is highly adaptable to different frameworks, as well as a cost-effective solution, especially for small businesses. As facial recognition technology is a key component of the design, the updated POS system design boasts an updated processor and an integrated 3D structured light camera to maximize accuracy. 

First started in Hangzhou, now thousands of merchants across hundreds of Chinese cities are already using Alipay's facial recognition payment solutions and with this updated device, consumers will be able to enjoy faster payments and less time waiting in line.

From passcode to fingerprint 

After all, Alipay is trying to protect the users. When Alipay was first introduced, the criminals rely on the QR code to swindle money. Even though Alipay’s protection measures are done well, many users have been deceived. In this case, Alipay soon introduced a more secure payment method to users -- the fingerprint payment. With this payment method, people only need to press the home button to extract fingerprints when paying. So, the possibility of users being illegally stealing money has been greatly reduced.

From the fingerprint to facial recognition 

Towards the end of 2018, Alipay started a new innovation in its payment method allowing people to pay with their faces. So the mobile phone is no longer needed! Even if your phone battery dies, you can pay for things! You don't need to open your mobile phone or to be connected to a network, you can pay wherever you go. It is a new breakthrough for China's digital payment industry.

How does it work?

1. Features:

Financial-grade security: Alipay's face recognition device is equipped with a 3D infrared depth camera. Before face recognition, it will perform live detection through a combination of software and hardware to determine whether the captured face is a photo, video, or software simulation. Generated, can effectively avoid the identity fraud caused by various face forgery.

Financial-grade accuracy: Alipay applies the financial-level face recognition technology accumulated online for many years to the offline face-sharing payment device, and has made many original optimizations for the face-paying commercial. The current recognition accuracy rate is 99.99%.

Dynamic mobile phone number scheme: Based on the financial level of intelligent wind control technology, Alipay brush face payment can accurately determine the security level of payment, and thus determine whether the user needs to input the mobile phone number for reconfirmation. If the security level is high, there is no need to input the mobile phone number.

2. Product value:

According to statistics, the entire process of brushing the face takes no more than 10 seconds. At the same time, users do not have to remember so many complicated passwords, which reduces the cost of users and the difficulty of use, especially for groups such as the elderly.

For the merchants, this full-process self-service “unmanned supermarket” experience can improve the business efficiency and information level of the merchants and achieve commercial upgrades.

3. Payment Process

Step 1 -- 1:1 face comparison: the user provides the mobile phone number bound by the Alipay real name account. After the user brushes the face, enter the mobile phone number linked to the Alipay account to confirm whether the current user is the real name account. The Alipay brush face then adopts a secure intelligent decision system. According to the risk level of the user in different scenes, the user is required to input the last four mobile phone numbers corresponding to the Alipay account. 

Step 2 -- After the user selects the face brush on the device, he or she only needs to complete the face recognition and input the phone number verification according to the screen prompt, and the payment can be successfully completed. 

Step 3 -- The user enters the payment link and selects the “pay face payment” method.

Step 4 -- Collect faces that meet quality requirements and complete in vivo testing

Step 5 -- According to Alipay's powerful security risk intelligent decision-making system, the user uses the brush face payment in different scenarios, and the number of mobile phone numbers required to be entered may be different. From the perspective of the user's perception, for users who occasionally visit a store to use the face payment, it is usually necessary to enter 11 digits mobile phone numbers. For users who frequently visit the store to use the face payment, usually only need to input the last 4 digits of mobile phone numbers skip the mobile phone number input interface and directly enter the payment confirmation page (the decision logic of the mobile phone number input digits is determined by Brush face system automatically decides)

Step 6 -- If the current user is confirmed as the person of the Alipay account corresponding to the mobile phone number, the confirmation payment page is displayed.

Step 7 -- After clicking to confirm the payment, the debt payment operation of the Alipay account is completed according to the order amount.