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PayPal tests facial authentication on m-commerce app

11 September 2013 - 14:06 by Mike Price

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PayPal offers consumers in the UK and internationally the chance to make secure payments with a variety of retailers and independent sellers online, with both desktop and mobile transactions available.

Drapers Online reports that PayPal is currently working on an update for its smartphone app, which will allow customers to use their own faces to verify that a transaction is valid.

The idea is to appeal to multichannel retailers, who may be accepting in-store payments via PayPal's mobile application. So rather than relying on the personal information to prove that a particular customer is legitimately using their own PayPal account, the store worker will instead be able to see a photo of them from the system, which will let them work out whether to put through a sale.

PayPal spokesperson, Robert Harper, said that he believes the future of the high street will not require a traditional wallet with the usual methods of payment this contains. Instead, apps like this one, influenced by safe shopping online, will let people pay for products and services using a smartphone or tablet.

For anyone who wants to start using PayPal's mobile app to buy things on the high street, checking the 'Local' tab will show you all of the businesses in your vicinity which will accept this type of payment.

Of course, some people might be nervous about adding their photo to a database associated with financial information, but PayPal has a history of offering secure and safe shopping online, so your privacy should be protected.

At the moment, the trial of the facial verification scheme has not been rolled out to all users, but a future update might change this and add a new layer of personality to making m-commerce purchases on the high street.