PayPal Tests Facial Recognition in London

Aug. 12, 2013

PayPal is piloting facial recognition technology in the U.K. to help authenticate mobile payments at the POS. Several merchants in London’s Richmond shopping district have agreed to take part in the test that leverages a tab in the PayPal mobile app called “Local.” Users check in on Local like they would on Foursquare or Facebook. Checking in brings up their name and photo at the checkout counter of the merchant. The cashier then clicks on the user’s photo to complete the purchase using funds from their PayPal account, an alert is sent to the user’s phone and they receive an email receipt.

“We’re pleased to help local businesses of all sizes offer a new, more personal experience, while never having to turn away customers who don’t have enough cash on them to pay,” said Rob Harper, head of retail services at PayPal. “Now locals in Richmond can leave their wallet or purse at home and be the first in the country to use their profile picture to pay.”

A dozen merchants are taking part in the pilot including Cook & Garcia, The Tea Box, The Bingham Hotel, The Cedar Coffee Shop, Urban Diner, and Pier 1 Fish and Chips.