PayPal Trials Facial Payment Verification in the UK

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

Twelve merchants in a London suburb are testing PayPal’s new facial verification system which will enable users to pay without cash or a payment card present.

Consumers using the mobile app “check in” to participating merchants. PayPal requires users to click on the merchant’s name in the app and pay for an item using their account sliding an animated pin down the screen. The user’s name and photo is displayed at the merchant’s point of sale. The cashier clicks on the user’s photo to process the payment once consent is given. PayPal uses a mobile alert to notify the user’s payment was processed.

Richard Garcia, owner of Cook & Garcia (one of the participating merchants), commented in an article:

“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.”

For PayPal, this trial is just the first step to broader implementation of its payment services. Some 2,000 UK merchants will accept PayPal payments by the end of the year, according to Sky News. Rob Harper, PayPal head of retail services, said in a statement:

“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.”

Though only time will tell if consumers are willing to pay with their faces, PayPal has made it very clear that it wishes to move beyond just the online space. Furthermore, the use of facial verification systems seems to be gaining popularity as PayPal’s trial follows a similar system being used in Finland by Uniqul.

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