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China’s Alibaba to roll out new payment service for VR shoppers

The service allows users to make payments by nodding their heads.

By Hannah Williams

China’s e-commerce major Alibaba Group is developing a new service that will enable people shopping on virtual reality (VR) devices to make payments by just nodding their heads.

The financial arm of Alibaba has demonstrated the new service VR Pay, which is expected to be launched by the end of this year, Reuters reported.

The payment service is part of the company’s plans to tap the potential of the latest technology in online shopping space.

Last year, the group rolled out a facial recognition technology for Alipay mobile payments service.

The VR payment technology allows people using VR headsets to shop online make payments without removing them.

Ant Financial’s incubator F Lab in charge Lin Feng was quoted by the publication as saying: “It is very boring to have to take off your goggles for payment. With this, you will never need to take out your phone.”

F Lab has been working on the new payment service over the past few months.

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VR Pay verifies user identity through account logins on connected devices or via voice print technology that recognises unique voice of a person.

vr-payLin said that “this was the most convenient method in a VR setting compared with other biometric recognition technologies.”

However, the service will still require passwords for authentication.

Lin said that users can also enter passwords with movements, touch, or by staring at a point on virtual display for longer than 1.5 seconds.

Ant Financial said its new VR-based payment infrastructure has the capability to make VR “a tool rather than just a toy.”

To achieve this, the infrastructure connects various VR goggle makers and app developers to the Alipay payments platform.

In September, the company acquired US-based EyeVerify that owns a patented, secure mobile eye verification technology Eyeprint ID.

The acquisition enabled Ant Financial to improve its services for increased user trust and safety in financial transactions worldwide.

Businesses operated by Ant Financial include Alipay, Ant Fortune, Zhima Credit, MYbank and Ant Financial Cloud.

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