The Chinese-based ecommerce brand alibaba has recently announced a new program they’re developing for smartphones such as the iPhone and Android that will allow you to pay for your items using your face. No, that isn’t a joke. It may sound funny, but the internationally recognized company is absolutely serious. It’s called Smile to Pay, and it may be on track to changing the face of how you complete transactions at your local businesses.
The first perk you may consider, when you stop laughing about how it sounds and start thinking of the actual perks of facial recognition pay, is that unlike your pin code, you alone are the sole provider of your face. If someone was to steal your smartphone or credit card and tries to purchase something on your behalf, not only would they be denied that transaction, but at the same time, their selfie would be put on record for the proper authorities to possibly use, for the benefit of an investigation. Security benefits aside, the facial recognition software may also be a step up from fingerprint services because those occasionally don’t always work whenever your finger is either dirty or wet.
Jack Ma, cofounder of Alibaba addressed the crowd and reminded everyone that, “Online payment to buy things is always a big headache.” Which is a fair enough statement. Just in the last couple of years alone, however, several new ways in which companies have allowed the consumer to purchase products through their technology has evolved to great levels of efficiency. For instance, more recently has been Apple’s very own Apple Pay service, in which you can use an app on your iPhone and scan it at participating retailers. Panera Bread, Macy’s, McDonalds and Whole Foods, to name a few.
Apple Pay and other ecommerce-based apps work by linking your smartphone device to your bank card. Visa, Chase and MasterCard being the top brands that have entered agreements with such services. The ever-growing Apple Watch is reportedly set to make such instant and electronic pay services even easier. Where Smile to Pay fits in with the Apple Watch and other fast-growing products, time will tell. Until then, keeping an open mind about Smile to Pay cannot hurt. After all, it was only ten years ago when most tech fans would have thought it not only silly but impossible to achieve the amazing feats we do today with our ever-growing options in advanced technology.