London high street debuts pay with your picture technology

A high street in West London has become the first in Britain to embrace facial recognition payment technology.

Shoppers on Richmond High Street can now make payments on their mobile phone and be recognised by their first name and picture. A number of businesses including cafes, restaurants, shops, a hotel and even a fish and chip shop have signed up to the new service with PayPal.

The payment service, which have been operating a ‘pay by mobile‘ system for two years, launched the new app for iOS, Windows OS and Android phones which let customers check in to pay. The app highlights nearby shops and restaurants that accept PayPal; the customer then checks in to the shop and pays by simply sliding a pin down in the app. Once a customer has checked in, their name and photo appears on the shop‘s payment system, and when the customer agrees the amount to be paid, the cashier charges them by clicking on this image. The customer then gets an alert on their phone letting them know they‘ve been charged, as well as a receipt.

“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,” said Richard Garcia, owner of Cook and Garcia café.

Research from Omnico last week showed that British shoppers will queue for just under 6 minutes in store before they ‘abandon their basket‘ as the check-in service aims to improve queuing in-store.

Ismail Ahmed, the co-founder of The Farmery frozen yogurt store, on The Quadrant in Richmond said that using check in on PayPal‘s app was ‘easy‘ and that the business didn‘t have to change the way it operated as a result.

Rob Harper, Head of Retail at PayPal, predicted that a wallet-less high street would be a reality by 2016.


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