Fast, Frictionless Biometric Payments Gaining Ground in Grocery Stores

Biometric Grocery Payment Options Expand

As grocery shoppers who are used to the speed and convenience of online shopping grow frustrated with the time-intensive process of traditional checkout, businesses are finding new ways to remove friction from the payment process.

Last week, Mastercard announced the addition of biometric payment options, enabling in-person transactions via a smile, a wave of the hand, a face or a fingerprint. The first test of the technology is under way in Brazil, at five St. Marche supermarkets in Sao Paulo.

Read more: Mastercard Rolls out ‘Smile and Pay’ Biometric Option

“Our goal with this new program is to make shopping a great experience for consumers and merchants alike, providing the best of both security and convenience,” Ajay Bhalla, president of cyber and intelligence at Mastercard, said in a statement.

Also last week, Amazon brought its Amazon One system in which consumers pay by scanning their palms to two Whole Foods Market locations in the Los Angeles area, one in Silver Lake and one in Irvine. The news came days after the retail giant brought the technology to a Whole Foods location in New York City.

With the rise of self-service checkout, consumers have come to expect to be in control of their payment experiences and to be able to get in and out of stores more quickly.

According to data from PYMNTS’ study, “Today’s Self-Service Shopping Journey: The New Retail Expectation,” created in collaboration with Toshiba, which surveyed more than 2,000 U.S. adults about their checkout behaviors, the single most popular reason consumers report for using self-service checkout at grocery stores is that they believe it is faster than traditional checkout. The second most popular reason is that it cuts out the waiting in line.

See more: Consumers Want Self-Service Checkout Options But Rarely Get to Use Them

“From a payments perspective, it’s all about those journeys, and they have to be frictionless,” Debbie Guerra, executive vice president of on-demand merchant solutions at ACI Worldwide, told PYMNTS in a December interview. “You have to know who your consumer is. You need to have the flexibility for a common experience but [recognize] that the grocery store continues to evolve, and it’s not what it was 50 years ago, and it’s probably going to look different in the next 10 years as well.”

Read more: Supermarkets Rethink Physical and Digital Aisles for Grocery’s Connected Future

Initiatives such as these that remove friction from the payment experience can boost sales and visit frequency.

“[Consumers] say that, in the beginning, it feels like stealing, but then you get addicted to the feeling,” Yair Holtzer, vice president of business development at computer vision startup Trigo, said in a November interview with PYMNTS. “People want the experience to be smooth as possible … You can find hundreds of studies that show that when the experience of your shopping is better, whether it’s online or physical, then the loyalty of the customer increases, the traffic of visits increases, the size of basket increases … and also the conversion for new customers increases.”

See more: Frictionless Checkout Brings eCommerce Convenience Into Stores to Drive Conversion