How convenient would it be if you could make payments off your mobile phone which detects the user through facial recognition? After Apple came up with fingerprint scanner for authentication, this should not sound like sci-fi. Paypal’s new trial project introduces a payment system which recognizes customers by their first name and picture via a mobile application.
Some of the merchants chosen to work on this pilot study include Cook and Garcia, The Farmery, The Bingham hotel, Pretzel, Caffé Paolo, The Cedar Coffee Shop, The Tea Box, Urban Diner, Pier 1 Fish and Chips, Knot Café, Noble Jones and Revolution.
The app provided by the company has a tab labeled “Local”, which on accessing allows the users to find nearby stores that accepts mobile PayPal payments. The name and photo of the customer appears on the stores PayPal app once they check into a venue online. Shoppers can then use the app to pay for items while the cashiers complete the transaction by clicking on their profile picture.
Richard Garcia, owner of Cook and Garcia said in a statement , "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." PayPal expects that more than 2,000 merchants will be able to accept the PayPal payments by the end of 2013 according to sky news. Rob Harper, head of retail services at PayPal, said that the trial is a significant step in the development of “wallet-less” high street.
One advantage is that the facial recognition feature serves as a preventive measure against identity theft. However, the Customer’s PayPal avatar must match his portrait and cannot be a caricature or a cartoon. It is yet to be seen as to how the application would affect people who frequently alter their looks by colouring their hair or changing hairstyles.
LTP View: Apart from the convenience provided to the consumer, it is the vendors and large retailers which will mostly benefit from this technology. Stores like Walmart and Starbucks can cater to a lot more people when no money or credit cards are exchanged and only a face is needed for the transaction. PayPal is spearheading the change in the retail game with their one click feature and mobile ‘Check-in’ technology.