Alipay’s New Face Scanner Lowers Payment Costs by 80%

ZHANG YUSHUO

(Yicai Global) Dec. 13 — Alipay has released a new face scanner named Dragonfly which will reduce the cost of face scanning payment on its system by 80 percent, China’s major online payment platform under tech titan Alibaba Group Holding said on its promotional ‘Open Day’ in Shanghai today.

The new face scanner is shaped like a lamp and a book-sized screen is fitted on its head, the Shanghai Evening Post reported. Customers need only look at the screen to complete payment after the scanner is connected to a cash register, per the report.

The Dragonfly, only one-tenth the size of its forerunners, has a plug-and-use feature and requires no modifications to merchants’ existing systems, said Zhong Yao, the general manager of Alipay’s Internet of Things business department, adding that it has more advanced in face recognition, an integrated three-dimensional optical camera and enhanced smart engine, which enables users to complete payment without entering a mobile phone number in everyday scenarios.

Self-service cash registers with face-scanning payment functions have been in use in retail, catering, medical care and other major commercial scenarios since the start of the year. CP Lotus is the first supermarket to adopt Alipay’s face-scanning payment system.

One cashier can run three self-service cash registers using the face-scanning payment system, raising cash handling efficiency by 50 percent, said Yuan Linhua, assistant vice president of Hong Kong-based CP Lotus’s marketing department.

The company can save overall costs of CNY13.4 million (USD2 million) each year based on a cashier’s average salary of CNY3,200 (USD466) per month, Yuan added.

Jiangxi Provincial People’s Hospital in East China also introduced 40 Alipay face-scanners in September, which shorten customers’ in-line waiting and ease the pressure on reception desks.

Face scanning and fingerprinting made up 60 percent of the payment methods used in China’s Black Friday-style Double 11 shopping festival this year, and have become mainstream payment means, public data show.

Facial recognition payment is more secure and convenient than that via passwords, and as its threshold further drops, its popularity will explode in the next three years, said Pan Helin, a postdoctoral researcher in applied economics at the Chinese Academy of Fiscal Sciences.

Editor: Ben Armour

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