payment method of future

01/12/2013 08:52

In a world where everyone can know your name (and increasingly intimate personal details), how can connected shoppers keep their payment information private? With personal data increasingly viewed as insecure, developers and engineers are moving away from hackable passwords and forgettable PIN numbers and experimenting with transaction methods that are quick and easy, but can’t be easily replicated.

In our fourth Future of Retail report, PSFK Labs has identified the trend of Instantly Verified, where payment systems link to verified shoppers to make them more efficient and secure. Payment services are taking advantage of mobile and social technologies and biometric sensors to disrupt traditional financial transactions. This allows customers to touch, swipe or even smile to pay. Keep reading to see how these new systems envision paying for goods and services down the road.


Matthew Drake of the advertising agency 22Squared created Secret Handshake as a way for customers to pay using personalized hand gestures. Drake wished to circumnavigate the need for carrying a phone or a wallet, but still be able to pay for products and services. The prototype is designed for retailers already using Clover’s shopping cart API and mobile payment POS system. Shoppers are able to sign into their accounts and access an optional payment feature called the ‘secret handshake’ instead of credit or cash. Utilizing the Leap Motion gesture controller, shoppers then provide a sequence of hand signals and motions that the system recorded upon their signing up. For example, the customer could flash a descending number of fingers ‘three, two, one’ over the Leap Motion controller to complete a payment.


Apple’s iPhone 5s offers Touch ID for secure identification by recognizing a user’s thumbprint, thus streamlining payment for any purchases made in iTunes or the App Store. Users identify themselves by pressing their finger against the home button, where a high-definition sensor captures their, or any number of pre-approved users’, fingerprints. This identity-recognition feature can be used to verify users making iTune, App Store, or other mobile purchases. The image is then matched against the one stored solely on the phone’s memory, maintaining security. Touch ID aims to elevate image and visual recognition security l by scanning 170 microns in thickness with 500 ppi resolution.


Helsinki-based payments company Uniqul has designed a tablet-based checkout system that allows registered users to pay using facial recognition software. The system uses military-grade algorithms to verify shoppers’ biometric data in under a second, allowing them to complete any purchase simply by pressing the ‘OK’ button. Shoppers are able to enter payment details into the Uniqul system once when they sign up for the subscription service. The system looks to cut transaction time from an average of 30 seconds down to five seconds, allowing retailers to spend more time providing service or getting to know their customers. A 2013 survey conducted in partnership with Finland-based Uniqul found that biometric payments were favored over mobile and 82% of UK respondents were willing to provide facial scans.

The Instantly Verified trend is part of a bigger theme called Networked Purchase Path. At key points along the shopping journey, a forward thinking retailer or brand can effectively employ data, connected technologies and human service to meet the shopper where they are and anticipate where they will go next, created seamless experiences and better interactions across channels.

In the fourth edition of the Future of Retail Report, PSFK Labs brings together two interconnected themes and eleven key trends that provide a foundation for the modern shopping experience. The findings are brought to life with best-in-class examples, actionable strategies and leading questions to inspire leading retailers and brands. Join us at our San Francisco conference on Nov. 21st to hear talks from retail innovators that will bring the report’s key themes to life.