New app allows consumers to pay with their faces

The Momentum UK Team 09 August 2013

Leave your wallet at home? A new app from PayPal allows customers to make purchases using nothing but their face and a mobile phone or tablet.

The system, which hopes to make shopping more hassle-free, is currently being trialled on Richmond high street with several shops taking part.

The app allows you to log into a shop from your mobile phone or tablet, even before you get inside. Your name and profile, including a photo, will then appear on the retailer’s screen. When all your purchases are added up, the retailer simply taps on your profile photo and charges you electronically, with a notification on your phone acting as a receipt.

Although the technology has been around for two years, this is the first time that a group of shops have come together to try it out. PayPal say that they are responding to changing consumer needs and desires when it comes to shopping. A spokesman for the company said:

“We did a survey in May earlier this year, and that told us that a third of UK consumers would rather take their smartphone over their wallet when they left the house, so we're really tapping into changes in consumer behaviour and the way we want to shop.”

PayPal’s head of services Rob Harper described the app as “another step on the journey towards a wallet-less high street”, reflecting a growing consumer appetite for technology that allows users to manage all their finances in one place, both at home and on the move. Using the app means that a single password replaces all credit and debit card pins, with the aim of increasing convenience for shoppers without compromising on security.

According to a PayPal spokesperson, the app is growing in popularity:

'In the UK, we are currently live with 12 merchants in Richmond using the new check in function in the app,'

'While we can’t disclose any confirmed retailers who will use "check in to pay", we will have brands such as Oasis, Coast, Karen Millen, Warehouse, Snow and Rock, Runners Need, Cycle Surgery, M&Co, Soletrader, SOLE and Thomas Pink live within the app this year.'

PayPal added that it expects to have over 2000 locations using the app by the end of the year.