KFC outlet in China trials facial payment system

KFC's KPRO-branded outlet in Hangzhou, China has been chosen for the trial launch of a facial payment system from Alipay.

The company behind the technology, Ant Financial, an Alibaba subsidiary, says its Smile to Pay technology needs about one to two seconds of facial scanning with a 3D camera and a “live-ness detection algorithm” to check the identity of the person paying, who must also enter their mobile phone number to help guard against fraud.

The algorithm can detect shadows and other features to test if the person standing in front of the camera is actually a person, and not a photo or video used to trick the payment system.

A video showing how the payment process works, sees one young woman using the machine in a variety of different appearances — with minimal make-up, heavy make-up, and an assortment of wigs. The machine was shown to accurately recognize her facial features each time for payment.

K Pro sells salads, juices, and paninis and was introduced in July as a way to entice younger customers looking for healthier food options.