Smile! You just paid for that meal with your face – CNET


Ant Financial, the maker of the “Smile to Pay” facial recognition payment platform, shows in a demo video how even disguises and multiple people in the background won’t trip up the system. 

Screenshot by CNET/Ant Financial

As part of an effort to lure a younger generation of consumers, a health-focused KFC concept restaurant in China now lets you pay with your face.

The restaurant in the eastern Chinese city of Hangzhou, called KPRO, is the first to house Alipay’s facial recognition payment system, “Smile to Pay.” Alipay, established by the Alibaba Group, is one of the world’s largest mobile payment platforms.

KPRO has partnered with Ant Financial, an Alibaba group affiliate that developed the technology. Ant says it’s the first service of its type. But it’s certainly not the first use of facial recognition for payment services. Samsung, PayPal, MasterCard and NEC are among the firms that have been testing out the concept. And Apple’s next iPhone could offer it too

In addition to scanning their faces at an ordering kiosk, KPRO diners must enter their phone numbers, which is meant to guard against fraud. (Click here for a demo video.) Ant says it’s steadily improved the technology since a beta version was first unveiled by Alibaba founder Jack Ma in 2015 at CEBIT in Germany. It was also demoed in January at CES.

KFC introduced the KPRO restaurant in July to attract consumers looking for healthier fare than its trademark “finger-licking good” fried chicken. The new restaurant’s menu includes items like salads and juices. 

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