With the cost of living crisis deepening and horror stories of families “living” in McDonald’s to save money Mastercard announced you’ll soon be able to pay for your shopping by smiling
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Shoppers will soon be able to pay for groceries just by smiling and waving at a screen.
That was the cheery message from Mastercard this week as it unveiled plans for a “biometric checkout programme” called Payface.
Customers will sign up to a phone app linked to their debit or credit card by taking a picture of their face or scanning their fingerprints.
When they get to the till with their basket or trolley a camera will read their face or digits so they don’t have to use a card reader.
“All you will need is yourself,” a Mastercard spokesman explained.
“Our goal is to make shopping a great experience… empowering customers to choose how they want to pay.”
I can’t be the only one who grimaced at this inopportune announcement.
Because there’s precious little for customers to smile about these days as they reach the tills with half their normal shop.
The cost of living crisis has made supermarket visits stressful and left people feeling helpless.
And while they’d love to be able to wave off the rising prices, the real Payfaces are actually focused on IF they can pay, not how.
Soaring inflation and high energy costs have hit us all hard.
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But it’s the poorest families who are suffering most and some three million British households face a daily struggle to survive.
More are turning to foodbanks, parents are skipping meals to feed kids and eating only cold stuff to save energy.
Reports suggest some desperate families have started “living” in McDonald’s – buying their children a cheap Happy Meal, washing them in the toilets and taking advantage of the free heating and wi-fi.
Yet Conservative MPs tell them there is no cost of living crisis – they simply need to work harder, budget and learn to cook.
And the Government is still refusing to impose a windfall tax on energy companies, set out an emergency budget or do anything to help.
So I agree with consumer champion Martin Lewis that we are facing potential price riots.
With energy bills set to leap again in October we could be plunged into a winter of discontent.
“We used to have a relative poverty condition in this country,” he says, “but we are moving to absolute poverty and we cannot allow that.
“The public mood is desperate, it is angry. And if we don’t sort this, I worry about civil unrest.”
It’s time for the Government to face the truth and help people pay their bills.
Because this crisis is deepening every day and they can’t be expected to simply grin and bear it.