PayPal trials 'pay with face' tech in London

PayPal trials 'pay with face' tech in London

Shops in Richmond, London, have begun trialling mobile payments technology from PayPal which lets customers verify themselves at the checkout using a photo and their first name.

The new feature, called check in, within the firm's Android, iOS and Windows apps highlights nearby shops and restaurants that accept PayPal; the customer then checks in by clicking on the retailer and pays by sliding a pin down in the app.

Once a user has checked in, their name and photo appears on the shop's payment system, and when they agree the amount to be paid, the cashier charges them by clicking on the image. The customer gets an alert on their phone to let them know how much they've paid, as well as PayPal's usual e-mail receipt.

A dozen businesses in Richmond high street, including cafes, restaurants and shops, have become the first to pilot the technology, which aims to consign wallets, cards and PINs to history.

Richard Garcia, owner of one participant, Cook and Garcia café, says: "We've been using PayPal's check in service within the business for several months, and have found it really efficient. Customers don't have to worry about having cards, cash or change, just their phones - it is the quickest transaction through the till, which means less queues and we never have to turn down a sale, both of which are great for business."

Rob Harper, head, retail services, PayPal, adds: "This is another step on the journey towards a wallet-less high street, where customers will be able to leave their wallet or purse at home and pay using their phone or tablet. We predict that by 2016 this will become a reality."

Comments: (2)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 08 August, 2013, 13:31Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

We aren't actually paying with our face with this, rather just a user (from the business) is confirming you are you using a picture of your face. The technology is not at all ground breaking, nor anything new.

I fear this is another example of PayPal trying yet another strategy re mobile payments and, well not hitting the mark. I think this demonstrates really really well, but if it was to ever see mass adoption, then the experience for the business will be horrific and not that great for the consumer.

Imagine a busy store with lets say just 20 people checking-in this way. Thats quite a few pictures to wade through to quickly find the right person to charge. Now think of a Tesco who could have hundreds of people checking in. 

From the consumers point of view, do we really expect consumers to check in to every store they enter?

A Finextra member
A Finextra member 07 January, 2014, 12:14Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

It never ceases to amaze me that companies keep trying to solve a payment problem that doesn't exist.  Payments aren't broken; merchants don't need a new payments system, but rather smarter ways to do business. Consumers will embrace mobile when there's something in it for them - beyond payment - and this revolves around loyalty, relevant rewards & special offers, and convenience.  Merchants want to connect to target customers, give meaningful offers, drive traffic to the store, and track consumer behaviour across multiple channels. Consumers want to get a great deal, find the best product/service, compare prices, and accrue/redeem loyalty rewards. Mobile technology can be a powerful game-changer, if focused in the right areas.