Using a mobile to pay in store has existed for a while, but Paypal hope to revolutionise the process with their new initiative

Customers pay with just name and profile picture

A London high street has started using a payment system that recognises customers by their first name and picture via an app.

Retailers in Richmond are among the first to allow shoppers to leave their wallets at home and pay for items using just the PayPal app and their profile picture.

The app for iOS, Windows OS and Android phones highlights nearby shops and restaurants that accept PayPal before the customer checks in by clicking on the required retailer and sliding an animated pin down on their screen.

The customer's name and photo then appears on the shop's payment system and the retailer charges them by clicking on their image. The customer then receives an alert on their phone to let them know how much they have paid as well as PayPal's usual email receipt.

Richard Garcia, owner and proprietor of Cook and Garcia cafe on The Quadrant in Richmond, said: "We've been using PayPal's check-in service within the business for several months, and have found it really efficient.

"Customers don't have to worry about having cards, cash or change, just their phones. It is the quickest transaction through the till, which means less queues and we never have to turn down a sale, both of which are great for business."

Ismail Ahmed, of The Farmery frozen yogurt store, also on The Quadrant, said: "Lots of our customers have a mobile phone and are familiar with using apps on their phones. What's better is that we didn't even have to change anything about the way we run our business; we're still using the same tills and system, including iPads and iPhones to operate the technology.

"All the customer has to do is check in on their phone, we see them on our system and we can just charge them. They can even check in before they get to the shop for their frozen yoghurt."

The firm also released a new chip and pin device in February to make it easier for small traders to accept card payments, with the device linked to an app on the traders' smartphone which acts like a till.

PayPal head of retail services Rob Harper said: "PayPal first brought 'pay by mobile' to the UK high street two years ago. Through our Richmond initiative, 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.

"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.

"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."

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