Alibaba boss demonstrates selfie payments

Jack Ma shows off Alibaba's prototype face biometric payment system
PAY-BY-SELFIE: Jack Ma shows off Alibaba’s prototype face biometric payment system

Alibaba founder and executive chairman Jack Ma has demonstrated a prototype biometric verification service that could enable a payment to be authorized by simply capturing an image of a mobile phone user’s face.

Ma unveiled the pay-by-selfie concept during the opening ceremony for this year’s Cebit trade fair in Hanover, Germany.

“Online payment to buy things is always a big headache,” Ma said. “You forget your password, you worry about the securities.”

To make a purchase using the service, he explained, an Alipay customer would click the “Buy” button next to an item on Alibaba’s site. They would then be directed to take a picture of their face using the camera on their smartphone and, once verified, confirm the purchase to complete the transaction.

A video shows Ma demonstrating the service:

There is, however, “no word from Alibaba on when the beta version shown by Ma will be ready for prime time”, the company’s Alizila blog says.

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