August 9 - Paypal is trialling a new payment system which allows consumers to leave their wallets at home and pay for goods - using their face. Joanne Nicholson test runs the potentially game changing smartphone app and looks at the security implications of the technology.
Using your face is now an accepted form of payment in some UK shops. Paypal is trialling a system that allows shop owners to link to a customer's Paypal account. If it's you they see - they'll take the payment. Ismail Ahmed runs his own business. SOUNDBITE (English) ISMAIL AHMED, CO-FOUNDER, THE FARMERY, SAYING: "We've had the Paypal technology implemented in our store for several months now and we find it really easy to use. It's convenient for both us and the customer." Rob Harper - Paypal's Head of Retail Sales in the UK - says this new business model works the same way as a bank or credit card. SOUNDBITE (English) ROB HARPER, HEAD OF RETAIL SERVICES, PAYPAL UK, SAYING: "The app is free to download for consumers and free for the consumer to use. For the businesses as with any financial transaction, there's a small transaction fee that Paypal will apply." Paypal first launched alternative ways to pay using mobile phones two years ago with pay-at-the-table options and barcode scanning. Paypal says what people want is to be able to leave their wallets at home and many say if they could only take one thing out with them, it would be their smartphone. Some might have concerns over security at a time when smartphones can be cloned. Paypal assures users are protected. But there are other security implications, as companies gather more and more personal data. David Clemente is an international security expert. SOUNDBITE (English) DAVID CLEMENTE, RESEARCH ASSOCIATE, INTERNATIONAL SECURITY, CHATHAM HOUSE, SAYING: "It's really like a thumbprint or a finger print. It doesn't change over time. So if they have your picture now, they could match that with the real you in five years time using the same picture. Bank details may change, addresses may change, but your thumbprint and face geometry dosen't change." The app has already been rolled out in thousands of shops in the United States, Australia and Asia. And with Paypal's next plan to combine different payment options in just one app - going out with just your phone may become a reality, sooner than we think.