Forget wireless cards, now you can pay using your face
It’s supposed to be a sign of age when you find technology is passing you by, but before most retailers can cope with the latest fast payment invention, Paypal have unveiled a new app called Pay with your Face.
Of course it’s not actually called that, but new functionality on the existing Paypal app combines location services with online billing to allow you to go and buy stuff with just your phone and your face.
The way it works is that, if so inclined, you open the Paypal app (on iOS , Windows OS and Android) and look for places to check into- these are places that accept this new-fangled payment. You then go to, say, your local coffee shop, order a flat white and ask for the bill. The waiter approaches with a tablet pre-loaded with the faces of the people who have checked in and merely pokes you in the face to settle your bill. Your phone will then immediately tell you how much you have been charged. Easy. Paypal plan to extend the functionality to enable you to preorder food and drinks so that they are waiting for you when you arrive.
Rob Harper, PayPal head of retail services, said: "PayPal first brought 'pay by mobile' to the UK high street two years ago… 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.”
Of course, the downside of this scheme for some people will be the requirement to upload a photo, and it could cause embarrassment for those who try to pretend they are younger/slimmer/less ugly than they are in real life. Photoshop will not airbrush reality. It might also cause problems for non-descript people, or people who photograph really badly.
But if you like the sound of this brave new world, you’ll have to wait awhile unless you live in Richmond, London. The scheme is currently only available as part of a trial there but if successful , will be rolled out all over the country.