Alipay 'Smile to Pay' tech comes to Chinese KFC

Alipay 'Smile to Pay' tech comes to Chinese KFC

KFC has rolled out Alipay's facial recognition technology at a restaurant in the Chinese city of Hangzhou, enabling hungry patrons to pay for their chicken with a smile and their mobile phone number.

At the restaurant, customers place their order by scrolling through a menu on a large touchscreen before looking at a 3D camera and then entering their mobile phone number to authenticate payment.

The camera scans the customer's face and uses a "live-ness detection algorithm" that can detect things like shadows to prevent people from using photos and videos to trick the system.

"While Smile to Pay provides convenience for users like never before, we have always placed security at the core of this technology," says Jidong Chen, director, biometric identification technology, Ant Financial.

The technology, first demoed by Alibaba chairman Jack Ma in 2015, is currently only in a single KFC KPRO healthy-eating restaurant but more deployments are set to follow.

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