Tencent Launches WeChat Palm Payments

WeChat Pay palm scan Tencent

Chinese social media giant Tencent launches payments using palm scanners in Beijing metro, with further expansion planned

Chinese social media giant Tencent has launched a payment method on its WeChat Pay service, called WeChat Palm Pay, that allows users to complete a transaction by holding their palm in front of a scanner.

The service has been initially launched for passengers on Beijing’s metro system on the Daxing Airport Express Line.

From Sunday passengers can use the palm payment service at turnstiles specially marked with a green circle, after registering their palm print at a designated machine at a metro station.

The technology, developed by Tencent’s AI lab YouTu, authenticates the transactions using both surface-level palm prints and the unique pattern of veins running through the hand, Tencent said.

Tencent Seafront Towers in Shenzhen, China. Image credit: Tencent
Tencent Seafront Towers in Shenzhen, China. Image credit: Tencent

Ease of use

“In our aim to improve efficiency and greatly simplify user experience, we are making new technology more user-friendly for the elderly and accessible to people with disabilities,” the company said.

It said it plans to roll out the system to other locations including offices, education campuses, shops and restaurants.

The system is available only to mainland China users who have completed WeChat Pay’s real name verification.

Users on social media expressed scepticism over the security of biometric payments, in a country where the theft of biometric data theft is a common occurrence.

Biometric data

In China facial-recognition payments have been available for years, but Tencent said palm prints were more private.

However some users on social media questioned whether they would dare to wave their hands casually after palm payments became widely used, for fear that their palm prints might be stolen.

Tencent is best known for its widely used WeChat messaging service, which includes a wide range of functions. including payments, and is the model for Elon Musk’s ambitions to turn Twitter into “X, the everything app”.

The firm is also the world’s biggest video game company through its Tencent Interactive Entertainment Group.


It competes with firms such as Alibaba, whose Alipay is the world’s biggest mobile payment platform.

Alibaba is working on similar palm payment technology, according to a patent filing reported by Tech Planet in February.

Alipay and WeChat Pay account for more than 90 percent of the mobile payments market in mainland China.

US e-commerce giant Amazon launched its own palm-based payment service, Amazon One, in offline stores in 2020 and offers the system in some outlets of its grocery chain Whole Foods.