UK consumers can now leave their wallets at home and pay using nothing more than their phones and faces thanks to PayPal’s “check in” app — at certain outlets.
The app works across iOS, Android and Windows Phone and highlights businesses nearby that let customers pay by PayPal. You can link your PayPal account to your bank account, debit or credit card, so that you don’t have to worry about being in credit in order to make payments.
Image courtesy: Paypal
All customers need to do is check in on the app by dropping a pin on a retailer. Their name and picture will then be passed to the shop, restaurant or bar in question and once they have agreed the amount to be paid, the cashier can charge them by clicking on the image. The customer will then get a notification on their phone, letting them know they’ve been charged, as well as an email receipt.
The ability to pay with your name and profile picture works in thousands of retailers across the US already, and has now come to the UK by way of Richmond in London. A dozen businesses including shops, restaurants, bars and a hotel in Richmond are already using the technology.
“Business owners have found it very easy to integrate and to train their staff and the feedback we’ve had from them is that it’s been quicker that their normal card payment processes,” Rob Harper, PayPal’s head of retail services tells Wired.co.uk. “They love the fact that they can now start to have a personal relationship with their customers — because we pass their photo and their name it enables them to build up a relationship when they’re making a payment. They’ve also remarked that they’re starting to see quite a bit of repeat business from the same people.”
Customers will need to be open-minded towards the technology, which is a big step even from paying with a contactless card, but Harper believes they are ready. “The way we shop is changing,” he says. “We did some research last may that told us a third of shoppers would rather take their smartphone with them than their wallet if they could only take one thing when they left the house.
“This is really tapping into the way we shop and the way things are changing, and mobile as a technology is really enabling that to happen.”
For now the technology is limited to Richmond, but it will be gradually rolling out across the UK.
“Richmond is really the start for PayPal in the UK and the UK high street,” says Harper. “We predicted last year that by 2016 you’d be able to leave your physical wallet at home and just walk up the high street and be able to pay with your smartphone, so for us this is just another step on the journey to realising that ambition.”