A new app introduced by PayPal now lets your face make the payment instead the cash in your wallet or the card while paying for your lunch at a restaurant or other establishments.
Customers bring up the PayPal app on a smart phone, key in their password and tap 'local' which brings up a list of nearby restaurants and coffee shops, from which they select one and 'check in'. With a couple of simple swipes they can prove to a shop that they are good for the bill, and show the shop their picture too.
At the time of making a payment, when they would like to pay with PayPal, the waiter brings an iPad, with the customer's picture on the screen, and simple pressing on it brings up a new screen saying ''Charge'' and that would be it. There would be no requirement for a chip and pin machine and the second the waiter presses the button, the app tells the user what is being charged, and could even, in some shops, show the customer the entire receipt.
In future, PayPal is planning to even let customers pre-order food before they arrived in a shop, adding a whole new meaning to click and collect. The new app would certainly help customers say goodbye to worries about forgetting their wallet.
The new app would, of course, require users to upload a photograph, but that would be a small burden, and it added to the already excellent features allowing people to pay other individuals through the app, as also splitting the bill in some restaurants.
The service, which is set for nationwide roll-out, is undergoing pilot testing at London's Richmond High Street, where over dozen retailers have been signed up to use it.
According to Rob Harper, PayPal head of retail services, PayPal first brought 'pay by mobile' to the UK high street two years ago. Through the Richmond initiative, he added, PayPal was pleased to help local businesses of all sizes offer a new more personal experience, while never having to turn away customers who did not have enough cash on them to pay.
This, he said, was another step on the journey towards a wallet-less high street, where customers would be able to leave their wallet or purse at home and pay using their phone or tablet. He said PayPal predicted that by 2016 this would become a reality.
According to Richard Garcia, owner and proprietor of Cook and Garcia cafe on The Quadrant in Richmond, they had been using PayPal's check-in service within the business for several months, and had found it really efficient.