World’s first facial recognition payment system is operating in China

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It’s a facial recognition system called “Smile to Pay,” part of a drive by Yum China to lure a younger generation of consumers  The Hangzhou store involves a tie-up with Ant Financial, which is behind the facial recognition software.. Diners can pay by scanning their faces at an ordering kiosk and entering a phone number. The ordering machine will compare the customer’s face with the verified picture on their Alipay account, a mobile payment app used by more than 120 million people in China.

smile-and-pay

“Smile to Pay” system in China

Alibaba affiliate Ant said this is the first commercial application of the technology worldwide. Yum is still the largest fast food chain in the market, where it has over 7,685 outlets. “Combined with a 3D camera and liveness detection algorithm, Smile to Pay can effectively block spoofing attempts using other people’s photos or video recordings and ensure account safety,” Jidong Chen, Ant’s director of biometric identification technology, said in a statement. Some airports and train stations in China  are also using facial recognition with China Southern Airlines this year introducing it in place of boarding passes for the first time. Even more, police used the same technology to identify wanted suspects at entrance gates at a beer festival. Added to a database, face images could provide access and monitor persons in targeted areas. Over the past few years, computers have become incredibly good at recognizing faces and the technology is expanding quickly in China in the interest of both surveillance and convenience.

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