Worldpay creates VR payments prototype

Worldpay is experimenting with the use of virtual reality to provide genuine card transactions for users immersed in a computer-generated environment.

The product of an 18-month design and development project, the payment processor has produced a prototype application for use with HTC Corp’s Vive VR headset.

To make a purchase, users picking up objects in the virtual environment are presented with the item’s price and a (virtual) eftpos terminal. Purchases under £30 mimic a real-world contactless payment with users tapping a virtual card against the terminal. For transactions above the £30 ceiling the VR headset displays a pop-up field of numbers which users can press to input their PIN codes.

The firm says it plans to market the toool 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.