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(Pocket-lint) - Smile. That's what you might find yourself having to do when you pay for things in the future if Alibaba has its way. The Chinese e-commerce company is testing a new payment system that uses facial recognition rather than fingerprint scanning to allow you to pay for things.

The Chinese company, that is bigger than PayPal, Amazon, eBay, and others put together, says it hopes the service, currently dubbed, Smile to Pay, would be in the hands of consumers by 2017.

Jack Ma, CEO of the Chinese company demoed the new payment system at German technology trade show CeBIT on Sunday. The tech scans a users face via their smartphone to verify mobile payments.

The CEO didn't go into great detail of how the technology will detect faces however, or whether it can be spoofed by a face mask for example.  

Still in early beta, the service has been developed by the company's finance arm: Ant Financial, and is expected to be used by the company's Alipay customers if trials are successful.

"You forget your password, you worry about the securities ... today we show you a new technology in the future how people can buy things online."

In the demo on stage at the company's press conference, Ma pulled out his phone and bought a stamp from the Alibaba site, scanning his face with the smartphone's camera to confirm the purchase.

At the moment many companies are experimenting with different ways to pay either online or using a mobile device.

Halifax is currently trailing a wrist band that monitors a users ECG to make sure the person making the payment is who they say they are.

Writing by Stuart Miles.