‘Smile to Pay’ firm Face++ raises $25m

A firm that has teamed up with Alibaba with the possibility of launching a “smile to pay” payments system has raised $25m. Face++ raised $22m in 2014 taking total funds raised to $$47m. Existing investors Qiming Venture Partners and Innovation Works returned for the series B round.

The Face++ concept is remarkably simple. It uses a selfie to verify your payment. By using biometrics (which you’ll be familiar with from your passport) the idea is that you won’t need a password or the like in future to confirm a payment.

Beijing based Face++ is working with Ant Financial, the financial arm of Alibaba responsible for Alipay. They are requesting regulatory approval so it can use Face++ software to confirm the identity of people opening an online bank account.

Although it sounds like an interesting idea, it also seems fraught with potential pitfalls. So it will be interesting to see exactly how it works in practice.