Alipay is Adding Beauty Filters for Face-Scan Payments

By Ryan Gandolfo, July 4, 2019

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In China, it’s all about face.

With more and more retail stores adopting Alipay’s facial-recognition payment system, Chinese consumers are arguably seeing their face more than ever. Sina Technology recently conducted a poll asking online users whether they felt they looked ugly when completing a payment using the face-scanning method. As of press time, over 40,000 people have answered the survey, with nearly 60% of respondents acknowledging that they feel ugly when ‘facing’ the bill.  

Screengrab via @新浪科技/Weibo

On Tuesday, Alipay shared the survey on their official Weibo account, and announced that “within a week” all of their facial-recognition payment systems in China will have beautifying filters. The company even called out all those beauty apps by writing: “Next time you scan your face to pay, you’ll look even better than when you use a beauty cam...”

And netizens are lovin’ the concept. “Finally, this issue is being addressed. The reason I don’t use the pay-with-face system is because of this... It’s the same reason I don’t use the automatic ticket machine at the railway station,” posted one Weibo user. “I love this function. Every time I go to pay using the facial recognition system I have this frightened feeling,” wrote another.

Sina Technology noted that the percentage of female Alipay users who use the pay-with-face system is much lower than male users; however, it appears Alipay may have found a solution.

Since launching the ‘Smile to Pay’ facial-recognition system in September 2017, the payment system has been added in over 300 cities across the PRC. According to Yicai Global, the company announced plans in April to invest RMB3 billion to promote their latest version, Dragonfly 2. While the tool is priced at RMB1,999, the tech company is offering incentives to merchants to offset the cost.

READ MORE: 'Don't Beautify Photos' US Consulate Tells Chinese Visa Applicants

[Cover image via @极客之选/Weibo]

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