Source: VR Payment
VR Payment, the payment specialist of the Volksbanken Raiffeisenbanken Cooperative Financial Network, presents a world premiere at EuroShop: ‘payfree’ is a payment method that is fully integrated into the purchasing process and does not require stationary checkouts.
The shopper simply has to install an app on their smartphone in which they pre-authorise their shopping budget. When the customer leaves the shop, the RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags on the purchased goods are automatically scanned in an RFID zone set up in the shop, triggering the payment process once the customer passes through. Further involvement from the customer is no longer necessary. There are no more interruptions when paying or queuing at the checkout. The customer simply receives the receipt digitally through the app or via email.
“With payfree, the vision of the payment process as a background procedure while shopping becomes reality. We have achieved this for the proportion of retailers who are willing to tag their goods”, explained Carlos Gómez-Sáez, CEO of VR Payment, during the product presentation. He claims that payfree will at first appeal to chain stores with a higher value product range. “For these companies, the RFID tag is already widely used for logistics reasons. However, this process may also be of interest to companies with lower individual values due to rapidly declining costs for RFID tags.” Gómez-Sáez is convinced: “payfree is just the right building block for the future model of stationary trade.”
Two innovations responsible for the breakthrough
The payfree process is made possible by two technical innovations: On the one hand, a new recognition method allows RFID tags to be scanned in open areas. For the first time, it is now possible to scan and process product information from goods in the basket or shopping bag without having to use a manual interface. Until now, a reading area that was closed off after as many lines as possible had to be set up in order to detect products that were close together in a reliable manner. Thanks to the new Locate Tags and the patented recognition procedure of a VR Payment technology partner, bulky RFID interfaces and RFID tunnels can now be avoided. In contrast to similar grab-and-go models, this procedure can be integrated into existing store concepts in a flexible manner and according to the individual requirements.
A further development lowers possible usage barriers for payfree. Up until now, RFID tags have been relatively expensive to produce and are only worthwhile for higher priced goods. Although the prices for the tags are expected to halve in the next three to four years, even then they would not be suitable for the masses in the actual sense.This will only be accomplished by means of a new process developed by the technology partner in which RFID technology can be printed using nanotechnology, making payfree appealing for practically any product range composition.
Innovation partnership between VR Payment and BMS Consulting intensified
payfree was developed by VR Payment along with the Düsseldorf-based BMS Consulting. This company is one of the leading software developers in the financial sector and has long been working closely with the Cooperative Financial Network.
As part of a long-term cooperation, the partners have combined the technological expertise of BMS with the payment expertise of VR Payment:
“With payfree, we have created a primary example for the development of next generation payment products. We are thus illustrating the direction in which this development is heading. We want to continue on this path together”, says Nino Raddao, the leading representative of BMS Consulting. “Our goal was to provide customers with an extremely fast and convenient checkout experience for retail shopping”, stresses co-developer Nils Bergmann.
In addition to the new and improved customer experience, payfree also offers retailers tangible efficiency gains and cost advantages: It allows both the checkout infrastructure and the number of checkout staff to be reduced. This saves valuable time that can be used for customer services and active selling. “We make sure that our customers' employees can focus on what really adds value in retail: Addressing the customers and their needs. Sensing what they need and desire. Offering them precisely that which makes them happy,” emphasizes VR Payment CEO Carlos Gómez-Sáez.