Worldpay, the payment processing company, is testing the use of virtual reality to enable card transactions for customers who are in a computer-generated environment.
According to a report in Finextra, the company has developed a prototype application that works with HTC’s Vive VR headset. With the gear, users would see the pricing of items in the virtual environment and would be able to purchase them using a virtual payment terminal. Purchases that are below £30 would mimic what happens in the real world, with contactless payment in which the user taps a virtual card against the payment terminal. For higher-priced transactions, the VR headset will display a pop-up field, and users will have to input their PIN codes, reported Finextra.
Worldpay plans to target the tool to companies that make virtual reality games and retailers, including Ikea and Asos, both of which are experimenting with VR-based shopping.
“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,” said Nick Telford-Reed, Worldpay innovation director in the report.
The report noted that Worldpay isn’t the only one experimenting with VR payments. Mastercard and Wearality, an Orlando startup that created virtual reality glasses to let customers take a virtual tour of a golf course and buy golfing merchandise without leaving the tour, are also in on the VR game.
While VR has been slow to take off in the U.S., that hasn’t stopped all sorts of companies and industries from getting into the space. In February, for example, Hollywood film director Steven Spielberg and several major studios fueled Series A funding for Dreamscape Immersive, a new VR technology startup aimed at VR entertainment experiences that bring consumers into larger social and retail environments.