Alipay Exec: Death of Password in mPayment Imminent

Alipay Exec: Death of Password in mPayment ImminentAlipay has added its voice to the morbid chatter about the future of the password. At the GSMA Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Shanghai, Alipay Vice President Jason Lu predicted that in three years the password will be dead, at least when it comes to mobile payments.

Lu predicted that biometric authentication would effectively replace the password on mPayment systems, and indeed, things seem to be heading in that direction now, thanks in large part to the pioneering efforts of Apple’s Touch ID system as used with Apple Pay. Lu spoke about fingerprint and facial recognition systems in particular, and suggested that each modality has its own advantages and disadvantages.

The ambivalence is surprising given that Alipay’s authentication system will reportedly rely on facial recognition; but perhaps the company is now looking at alternatives or enhancements to such a system. Lu discussed the potential security boost offered by solutions such as asking the user to shake her head as part of the authentication process, thereby preventing still-image spoofing; and indeed, the recently announced ZoOm app uses video selfies for 3D facial recognition, a much more advanced authentication system.

In any case, the executive suggested that Alipay is also going to differentiate itself from rival mPayment systems in other ways, noting that Ant Financial Services, Alipay’s parent company, aims to extend mPayment services to underserved citizens and small companies by “combining big data and internet,” which he said would “attract a lot of ordinary people who do not have a whole lot of money.” It’s not yet clear what specifically that means, but it certainly suggests an ambition extending beyond the normal mPayment services offered by the likes of Apple Pay.

Source: Mobile World Live

July 15, 2015 – by Alex Perala