Here’s something to think about: how do you store security information in VR?

When you are logging payments or making transactions, how would you make sure that payments are secure, locked down, unpenetrable? It’s one of those boring but important details not too mamy people talk about, and Worldpay is tackling this head-on.

To help overcome the perceived security barrier, researchers at Worldpay are investigating how shoppers can pay using a credit or debit card while remaining immersed within a virtual environment. The global payments processer has created a proof of concept, which provides the same levels of convenience, and security that shoppers have in-store and online, without needing to leave the virtual world.

Nick Telford-Reed, Director of Technology Innovation at Worldpay said: “Consumers are sceptical of the technology, particularly when it comes to storing sensitive information, such as payment details, within a virtual world. The security concerns highlighted by our research are nothing new. It’s not that long since many were wary of shopping online or using mobile banking. What is needed is education on a global scale to stress that it can be possible to shop securely in a virtual world.”

Developed in conjunction with production company INITION, the prototype design uses Host Card Emulation (HCE) to virtualise the purchasing process. For payments under £30, the prototype works in the same way a contactless payment does – with a tap of the (virtual) card across a (virtual) card machine. For purchases over £30, Worldpay has created a technology called AirPIN. This first of its kind allows the consumer to see a range of numbers whilst immersed in the virtual world, and then collect the four numbers that make up their PIN, one by one, using their virtual controller.

Commenting on the proof of concept, Telford-Reed added: “Innovation is what drives us and our clients. As technology moves on, so do the needs of consumers. As a leading payments company, it is our responsibility to consider where the next generation of payments will need to take place. 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 that will find this technology useful. As more companies experiment with VR/AR in their endeavour to drive higher customer engagement, they need to consider if VR technology can support purchases as well. Whatever sales channel, it’s vital to make the payment process both slick and secure for customers. A compelling, immersive and seamless VR experience may even have the capability to increase sales.”

Fucking cool, and I like where this is going.

Tom Ffiske