Apple is still trying to get a license for Apple Pay in China, but its new friends at Alibaba are bringing Touch ID payments to the mainstream in China today, with an update to the popular Alipay app that gives iPhone owners the power to make purchases with a fingerprint.
Alipay, which boasts over 300 million users in China, is the e-payment branch of Alibaba which just had the biggest global IPO ever this year. Tim Cook and Alibaba CEO Jack Ma met this year to talk about an Alipay + Apple Pay partnership, and the addition of Touch ID support is a strong sign that Apple’s mobile payments solution could be added in the future.
The Alipay Wallet app was updated to version 8.4 this morning giving iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus users the option to pay with a finger rather than entering passwords. Analaysts are calling the move an indiation that Apple Pay and Alipay have formed an alliance, however, the integration of Touch ID doesn’t require a special partnership.
In an email announcing the update, Alipay informed customers the Touch ID greatly “improves the security of transactions and reduces the risk of password leaks.” The company says it’s also looking into other biometric security measures for payments too, like making it possible for people to confirm a payment by winking.
Even though Alipay is mostly used in China, iPhone users around the world can also download the app to pay for items with their iPhone, making it a win-win for both companies that are looking to expand their reach overseas.