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How to Integrate Facial ID for Payment into Your App & Web Store

  • Rating — 5 (3 voices)
  • by Tony
  • Updated on October 16, 2019
  • Read —
    4-5 minutes
Face Id for payments

You’ve probably already heard of a new case study from China. The country has successfully deployed facial recognition technology for a number of different purposes, including service that lets KFC customers pay for orders with their faces.

Unsurprisingly food giant took advantage of all media coverage, but what’s more interesting is a facial recognition system supported by Alibaba payment service that has steadily accumulated all customer data including their faces.

Alibaba proved that making purchases can be as easy as making selfies and you too can get use of such brilliant technology by using Face ID system. The system was recently introduced with new iPhone and it promises even bigger advantages.


Face ID is a face authentication system for unlocking iPhone and protection of data within it. In its core Face ID is based on true depth system, specialized neural network, and mechanisms that adapt over time to changes on user’s face. The system acquires information through the mix of sensors: an infrared sensor, flood illuminator, and dot projector.

All these exquisite technologies effectively raised the bar of biometric security standards. The chance that a random person can look at your iPhone and unlock it is 1 in 1,000,000. For comparison, Touch ID has 20 times higher chances (1 in 20,000) that a random person can unlock your device.

Of course, such system can be successfully applied to one of the most sensitive activities of our everyday lives – payments. Face ID works with Apple Pay. In order to pay for things, the user should just double-tap the button on the side of iPhone (fast access face recognition activation key) and look at the screen to authenticate and hold the device near the payment terminal. It’s that easy!

Face ID can be used to make purchases:

  • In a store, using NFC module in the payment terminal.
  • Online, within an app or on e-commerce store in Safari.

What’s better, Face ID works with third-party apps like Mint, 1Password, E-Trade, etc. Thus, your app can be the next one that supports Face ID payments, just like it supports Touch ID.

First Steps: Integration of Facial Payments in Web Store or Mobile App

Face Id setupCurrently, users can enable Face ID for payment only through the Apple Pay service. Therefore, if you want to include facial recognition for online payment in your app, first you need to integrate with Apple Pay.

Apple Pay Advantages and Disadvantages

Few good things about Apple Pay:

  • Apple Pay works across all Apple devices: iPhones, iPads, MacBooks, iWatches.
  • The service works with Visa, Mastercard, American Express, Discover, Interac, eftpos, China Union Pay, Suica, the iD and QUICPay networks, and most card issuers and payment providers.
  • By processing transactions via Apple Pay, you don’t handle credit card numbers of your customers. Thus, you get rid of all the headaches associated with the processing of personal information. Which is great, because you don’t need to deal with extra encryptions and compliances. Plus, Liability for transactions might shift to the issuer.
  • A small bonus: Apple Pay transactions might be treated more favorably than standard transactions with a plastic card if they are processed in the web.
There are NO additional fees to accept Apple Pay!

There is, however, some geographical and financial limitation:

Here’s a list of countries and regions that support Apple Pay. You can add your credit, debit, or prepaid cards from participating banks and card issuers in these countries and regions.

In addition, there is also can be a limit on purchases made through Apple Pay depending on the country you operate or your users might need to enter a PIN for purchases over a certain sum. Hopeful, if your product doesn’t cost more than $25 (and most of apps don’t cost more than that) you won’t hit this cup.


apple-pay wallet face id

  • First, in order to integrate with Apple Pay you need to register and configure your developer account for Apple Pay. We usually configure one while developing a mobile app.
  • Secondly, it is absolutely required to configure the sandbox environment to test you Apple Pay account without actually transferring money back and forth. This stem is usually done by our QA team.
  • Then you either integrate Apple Pay into your mobile app or web store.

Mobile App Face ID Integration

In order to turn on Face ID and all other authorization payment methods in your app you’ll need to enable the PassKit framework and Apple Pay capabilities in Xcode.

The PassKit framework lets you add Apple Pay to your app or manage passes in the Wallet app, so users could manage their payment cards for Apple Pay. You would also need to register a merchant ID and create a Payment Processing certificate, which is a cryptographic key that is used to securely send payment data to your server.

Facial Recognition for E-commerce

On the other hand, if you want to turn on facial recognition across your web store you will need to set up the Apple Pay JS API. It is a universal script that lets your web store accept Apple Pay payments on the web via Safari browser. Of course, you’ll still need to enter your personal token and keys out there, but this is another story.

Bottom Line

Sadly, but our iOS developer has run out of time and can’t give more hints on how to integrate Apple Pay and Face Id payments. But here’s a link to official development guide, and if you possess skills required to walk it through by your own, that is absolutely awesome and we wish you good luck.

For those of you who want to enable full Face ID capabilities, identify customers, and let them pay with a glimpse – Contact us! We know how to make it right!

Tony Sol is the business development manager of GBKSOFT, overseeing the production of all writings for both internal blog and external platforms. He is technical-driven person always looking for new benefits of merging business and software.

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