Passwords are so last year: Alibaba has tech that’ll let you pay with your face

alibaba pay with face tech news jack ma
Natalie Behring/ World Economic Forum
Biometrics are very popular lately. At Mobile World Congress, we saw dozens of companies trying to find better ways to read your fingerprint, scan your eyes, and verify your identity with your face. The tech’s been around for a while, but it may soon become a daily part of our lives, if Alibaba’s CEO Jack Ma gets his way.

At CeBit in Germany, Ma demoed a futuristic payment method that would let customers verify transactions, not with a fingerprint or a password, but with their face. Ma simply held up his phone as if to take a selfie, and the facial recognition software scanned his face to verify his gift purchase for the mayor of Hannover. He found the souvenir stamp from the city’s 1948 trade fair on Alibaba, tapped the “buy” button, and paid for it, simply by showing his face to his phone’s camera at checkout.

“[Using] online payments to buy things is always a big headache,” he said, according to Re/code. “You forget your password, you worry about security. Today we’ll show you a new technology, how in the future people will buy things online.”

After the demonstration, Ma didn’t take any questions, nor did he say when the facial recognition tech would be used as the default checkout and payment verification method on the company’s mobile payment system Alipay. However, it’s entirely possible that the tech could come to Alipay users sooner rather than later.

It’s unclear who the tech comes from, or if Alibaba developed it independently. A similar app, called 1U from Hoyos Labs in the U.S. uses a scan of your face to verify passwords and logins on various websites, including bank accounts. Various levels of security can be applied to specific accounts, so that the software can’t be fooled by high-resolution images or stills — To get past the security, the user must prove that they’re alive by moving their head and eyes around. Nonetheless, security remains a concern for biometrics, especially where money is involved.

Mobile

Samsung rumored to mark 10 years of the Galaxy S line with a 5G model

Samsung is rumored to launch a 5G version of the Galaxy S10, called the Galaxy S10 X. The phone may be larger than the standard Galaxy S10 devices, and feature a very impressive specification sheet.
Mobile

The most expensive Galaxy S10 could be the priciest Galaxy phone we've seen

Not long now; with 2019 underway, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is almost here. Before it arrives, here's absolutely everything you need to know about all three of Samsung's next flagships.
Mobile

Apple’s iPad lineup is confusing. We break it all down for you

Trying to decide which iPad is right for you is a chore. What generation is the latest iPad? Which ones have been updated and which ones are collecting dust? Check out our iPad guide and we’ll break it down.
Mobile

You'll soon be able to pay for goods with the Motiv smart ring

Remember Motiv's activity tracking smart ring? It's back with a raft of new features that adds biometric identification and token authentication, all on a device that fits on your finger.
Computing

Protecting your PDF with a password isn't difficult. Just follow these steps

If you need to learn how to password protect a PDF, you have come to the right place. This guide will walk you through the process of protecting your documents step-by-step, whether you're running a MacOS or Windows machine.
Computing

Our favorite Windows apps will help you get the most out of your new PC

Not sure what apps you should be downloading for your newfangled Windows device? Here are the best Windows apps, whether you need something to speed up your machine or access your Netflix queue. Check out our categories and favorite picks.
Emerging Tech

CES 2019 recap: All the trends, products, and gadgets you missed

CES 2019 didn’t just give us a taste of the future, it offered a five-course meal. From 8K and Micro LED televisions to smart toilets, the show delivered with all the amazing gadgetry you could ask for. Here’s a look at all the big…
Computing

Yes, Android apps can run on your PC, and it's easier than you think

Wish you knew how to run Android apps in Windows? It's easier than you might think and there are a number of different ways to do it. In this guide, we break down the steps so you can follow along with ease.
Mobile

Unleash your inner artist with the best drawing apps for the iPad Pro

The best drawing apps for the iPad Pro turn Apple's robust tablet into a canvas worthy of a true artist. Here are 20 of our current favorites, whether you're looking to keep things simple or take your art to the next level.
Android

Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2019: Complete Coverage

There's no bigger show for mobile tech geeks than Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain: where flagship phones are born and intriguing new wearables shine. And this year, where foldable phones and 5G are likely to dominate the news. For…
Mobile

C you soon? Rumors swirl of a USB-C port on 2019 iPhones

While it's not been long since the last iPhones launched, rumors for the next iPhone are already surfacing. Apple's 2019 flagship could include a variety of upgrades ranging from a new design to enhanced features.
Mobile

Biometric phone unlocks can’t be forced by feds, says U.S. judge

Fingerprint and face unlocks used to not be protected by the Fifth Amendment, but that may soon change. A judge in California has ruled biometric unlocking methods of all kinds are protected in the same way as passcodes.
Mobile

The Note 8 and S8 range now have access to the Android Pie beta

Android 9.0 Pie has been released. But is your phone getting Android 9.0 Pie, and if so, when? We've done the hard work and asked every device manufacturer to see when their devices would be getting the update.
Mobile

The Motorola Razr may return as a foldable phone — for $1,500

The Motorola Razr V3 is one of the world's most iconic phones, and it could be making a stylistic return in the form of a foldable Motorola smartphone -- but it may cost around $1,500. Is the nostalgia worth it?