The payments processing giant has developed a proof of concept that demonstrates how shoppers could pay for things using their bank card while inside a virtual reality (VR) environment.
The prototype setup adopts Host Card Emulation (HCE) — virtual representation technology that’s similar to what’s used in mobile payments services such as Android Pay — to recreate a real-world payment experience inside a VR application.
Using EMV, an authentication technical standard for payment cards, Worldpay’s prototype works in pretty much the same way as any other contactless payment mechanism. The shopper taps a virtual card across a virtual card machine for purchases amounting to less than £30 ($39), and for amounts more than that Worldpay has created a new technology it calls AirPIN, which allows users to enter their PIN number through a virtual keypad.
“During the purchase procedure if card requires a PIN code then user can see bubbles with numbers. Then user should tap the numbers via controller for entering a Pin code. For security aspects WorldPay told that nobody can watch the numbers in real world.”.
After making a purchase the products will be delivered to user’s address or if a purchase is for game then they can see items in game. Nick Talford-Reed assured that making payments in this method is more secure than in custom way. During market research it turned out that 35% of UK citizens are ready to make shoppings in VR, while 93% of Chinese residents said they could use VR for payments.
Check out this video demo of Worldpay’s prototype VR payments system.
The firm says it plans to market the tool to companies that produce virtual reality games, and other brands such as Ikea and Asos which are experimenting with VR-based shopping environments.
Commenting on the proof of concept, Worldpay innovation director Nick Telford-Reed says: “We have built this prototype to provide a seamless, secure payment option for consumers in a virtual world. The benefits for merchants experimenting with virtual and augmented reality could be significant. While it is very early stages in its development, we believe that the sky is the limit when it comes to the industries which will find this technology useful.”
Worldpay is not alone in journeying into the world of virtual payments. MasterCard last year collaborated with Wearality, an Orlando-based start-up that designs virtual reality glasses and wearables, to allow consumers to take a virtual tour of the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass’s Stadium Course, identify an item of golfing apparel within the experience and buy it without leaving the virtual world.
Though VR is still a nascent technology, with many questioning whether it will ever become a mainstream platform, companies such as Facebook are investing significant resources in the area.
Last month, Facebook unveiled a beta platform for social virtual reality that it calls Facebook Spaces, showcasing Facebook’s ambitions for VR, which extend far beyond playing games. “VR is naturally a social platform, and we are building it with people at the center,” explained Facebook’s Rachel Franklin during the company’s F8 developer conference in San Jose. “It’s an extension of who you are, and the technology lets your humanity shine through.”
Facebook recently revealed that more than 5 percent of its workforce is currently dedicated to AR and VR. If VR does take off into the stratosphere, companies far and wide will want to find ways to monetize these new worlds.