PayPal Spotlights 'Face ID' Mobile Payments at Film Festival

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PayPal and Square allow their mobile-wallet users to pay by checking in at merchant locations with an app that transmits their photo to the merchant for authentication. With ShopKeep POS, PayPal is showcasing this feature at a New York film festival.

ShopKeep, a software developer and independent sales organization which launched in 2008, began supporting mobile payments at the Telluride Film Festival last year when it enabled merchants to take credit cards for the first time. This year, it is adding PayPal acceptance, allowing customers to pay using just a smartphone. The festival runs Aug. 31 through Sept. 3.

"We have a way to pay with your phone that actually works because we have both sides of the transaction covered – PayPal is on [the] consumer side, and ShopKeep is the acceptance side," says Jason Richelson, CEO and founder of ShopKeep, which is based in New York.

ShopKeep's cloud-based checkout system runs on Apple Inc. iPads. When consumers shop with PayPal at any of the 20 registers in seven locations at the festival, their name and photo will appear on the iPad register.

Many mobile-payment systems were designed to be simple enough for consumers to use but capable enough that small-business owners could use them exclusively. As PayPal, Square, Intuit and others try to expand their audience, they have added technology to provide inventory management and other business features.

Square added a Register app in March, and Intuit in June integrated its GoPayment mobile reader with the its Quickbooks Point of Sale software. PayPal in May began working with ShopKeep to make it easier for merchants to accept PayPal payments in stores.

PayPal has similar partnerships with point-of-sale software providers Leapset, Vend and Erply.

PayPal is using the Telluride festival as a showcase of "what the future of money and payments will look like," Hill Ferguson, PayPal's vice president of global product, said in an Aug. 30 blog post. 

"At checkout, the customer's name and photo will appear on the ShopKeep POS iPad register where the cashier finalizes the transaction," Ferguson wrote. "Once the transaction is complete, the customer is automatically checked out and emailed a receipt of the transaction. No change, no juggling your drinks and popcorn while you fumble to pay. No hassle."

PayPal has 115 million active accountholders in the U.S., and up to 20 million of them have the PayPal app on their phone, ShopKeep's Richelson says.

"PayPal is available at Telluride and 10 other locations trialing it," he says. "Eventually PayPal acceptance will roll out to all 2,500 (ShopKeep) locations."

Users log in to their PayPal account on their phones and check in at the venue where they intend to pay. Then they click on that venue's icon to check in with the merchant. When checking out using PayPal, the clerk clicks on the shopper's name and photo on the iPad when the photo matches the person in front of him to complete the transaction.

This closely resembles how Pay with Square, formerly Card Case, works. 

ShopKeep charges merchants $49 per month per register/iPad for its subscription-based service, which includes unlimited customer service availability by phone, email and online chat. Other ISOs also sell ShopKeep POS, and they price the service. When it sells the service, ShopKeep charges merchants an interchange-plus discount rate.

"Shopkeep POS is not an app; it's a Web-based service," Richelson says. "The iPad is just for setting up sales."

The system also enables merchants to track inventory, pricing and other aspects of their business, Richelson says.

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Technology Payment processing Mobile payments