Weixin’s Palm Scan Payments Is Like Waving at a Friend

Tired: wallets. Wired: a wave of the hand.

The old reality of digging around for an easy-to-lose plastic card continues to fade. A new advance now hits the ease-of-payments timeline: the ability to make payments and access services with a simple hand motion. The introduction of Weixin’s pioneering Palm Scan Payments system offers incredible convenience and security to daily life.

Why Palm Payments?

We need a plethora of passes—credit cards, train and bus tickets, office and gym keys… Massive headaches arise if you forget a card or if your phone dies.

Tencent has been working to solve these problems and facilitate a more seamless way of moving through life. The result is the Palm Scan Payments system. While the technology itself isn’t brand new, its broad use in everyday situations definitely is.

Solving New Challenges

Although facial recognition technology is already widely used around the world, developing touchless palm technology presented new and complex challenges. For it to work properly, we had to build hardware and software that could recognize individual palms in extreme lighting conditions and in different positions.

That included developing a new type of camera and a two-step process that recognizes both the lines on the palm of your hand and the veins within it, making the reading superaccurate.

Once we figured it out, however, palm scanning offers several advantages over facial recognition. For example, it is easier to tell the difference between twins, and easier for people of varying heights and physical abilities to use.

A user enters the gym using the palm scan.

Security and Privacy First

From the outset, security and privacy features have been built into the system. Tencent has invested heavily to ensure end-to-end security. This refers to the whole process from the camera, to transmission, recognition, and storage of images, which are done according to the highest security audit requirements. In-house professional security teams proactively work to identify and prevent any potential issues or concerns.

In addition, we fully respect the user’s preferences. If there is no authorization and confirmation from the user, we will not collect and use their biometric information. Users can also turn off the biometric function at any time, which means users have control of their privacy and the personal information collected.

A Breakthrough Debut

In May 2023, Weixin’s Palm Scan Payments system was introduced in China, allowing passengers traveling on Beijing’s airport express train line and students at Shenzhen University to make payments via the palm-recognition service. In September, the service was officially launched and available at more than 1,500 7-Eleven convenience stores in Guangdong province.

A passenger on Beijing’s airport express train line uses palm scan payment to ride.

The service was simultaneously rolled out across power bank rental stations in select areas of Shenzhen in southern China. Already, the technology is showing its usefulness in transport, fitness, retail, dining, offices, and campuses.

How It Works

The Weixin Palm Scan Payments service was officially launched at 7-Eleven stores in Guangdong on September 5th, 2023. To activate, users align their palm with the sensor on the palm scan device, then scan the screen’s QR code to register on their mobile phones. Upon successful registration, users can make payments by scanning their palms directly. After making a payment, users receive an instant notification of the deducted amount on their mobile phones.

A user is activating Weixin’s palm payment service.

Likewise, the process is straightforward for the power bank rental service. Users need to scan their palm on the station’s screen, connect it to their account, and confirm the rental. Subsequent transactions require only a quick palm scan and confirmation, eliminating the need for repetitive setups.

Benefits Across Society

The introduction of Palm Scan Payments comes with many benefits for consumers, businesses and society:

  • Convenience, speed and efficiency: Say goodbye to cards and passwords. Transactions are streamlined, saving time and effort
  • Enhanced security: Your palm print is as unique as you are, minimizing the risk of identity theft or fraud
  • Hygiene and health safety: With touchless interactions, you can reduce the spread of germs
  • Accessibility: It’s user friendly for people of different ages and physical abilities
  • Environmental impact: Less plastic and paper means a smaller carbon footprint

In Pilot Phase but Soon Expanding

The technology is in its early trial phase.  The team is still benchmarking, studying results and polishing the product and its capabilities. So far the feedback from users has been very positive, while the team will keep enhancing its features so people feel safe and comfortable using it.

There are plans for a rollout of Palm Scan Payment to most 7-Eleven stores across China. Weixin Pay is committed to further innovating the platform and extending its reach into more everyday settings. The goal is to offer tailored digital solutions that cater to specific industry needs, making life more convenient and efficient for us all.