Alibaba lets VR shoppers pay via nodding

17/10/2016

Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba is working on a new payment method that lets shoppers wearing virtual reality headsets make payments without removing the devices.

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Called VR Pay, the service allows people to select items for purchase from virtual shopping malls simply by looking and nodding at them.

The new system is being developed by Ant Financial, which manages Alipay, China’s largest payment processor with over 450 million active users, according to Reuters.

Lin Feng, who is in charge of Ant Financial's incubator F Lab that has been developing the payment service over the past few months, told Reuters: 'It is very boring to have to take off your goggles for payment.

“With this, you will never need to take out your phone.”

User identity can be verified on VR Pay via account logins on connected devices or via voice print technology that recognises each person's unique voice.

To avoid accidental payments, there are several verification processes in place.

First, VR Pay needs to verify the user’s identity, which it can do via linked account logins on connected devices or through the use of voice recognition.

Next, a password will still be required to authenticate payment. This can be input via touch, head movement, or by staring at a point on the virtual display for longer than one and a half seconds.

Earlier this year, MasterCard partnered with VR wearables company Wearality to work on its own VR shopping and payment system, according to VentureBeat.

As VR continues to get less expensive and make inroads into the consumer space, we can expect to see more general-use applications for the technology in the future.

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