Worldpay: Real Payments in Virtual Reality


To explore the future of virtual reality in a retail setting, Worldpay were looking to create a proof-of-concept piece that would allow users to purchase items securely in a virtual environment.

From research conducted, Worldpay found that Brits are very interested in VR for the future of shopping experiences, with 58% of respondents expressing interest in the broader use of VR technology in retail, for example trying on an item of clothing in a virtual store.

While research suggested the UK is falling behind in adoption of virtual reality in the mainstream than other global markets, Worldpay were looking to explore the medium and establish themselves as leaders in innovation and forward-thinkers in considering the next generation of payments.


The prototype project, built using the HTC Vive, allows explores how users would be able to make payment using a credit or debit card while remaining immersed within a virtual world. This uses a Host Card Emulation (HCE) process allowing a payment to occur in virtual reality.

INITION designed a virtual environment resembling one that may exist in a game with in-game purchases enabled. Users would select an item using a gaze-feature for a few moments, allowing the item to be added to a virtual shopping basket. Once complete, loaded payment methods appear in-game in the form of a virtual tokenized debit or credit card. The transaction uses EMV technology to authenticate and make the virtual contactless payment.

When an item is selected that is above the £30 contactless limit, the experience switches to an AirPIN mode. Here, users use the HTC Vive controller to enter their pin by collecting the four numbers, one by one. These numbers are placed in numerical orbs and randomly-placed around the environment. This process simulates one similar to a chip-and-pin payment commonly used in real-life retail environments.

While the initial experience is designed in a game-like environment, the environment can be re-skinned to produce a retail environment, a virtual shopping centre or travel experience, amongst other things.


Worldpay’s Technology Innovation Team recognised the need for payments in virtual reality. “Virtual reality could be a potential game changer for retail but there is a gap to solve where a payment could be made in VR.” They decided that it was worth an investigation to how a really secure payment can be made in a virtual world. “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.”

INITION are clearly experts in vr, helping us navigate this new area

On working with us, the Worldpay team said “INITION are clearly real experts in VR, helping us navigate this new area. They got the idea quickly about what we were trying to achieve, and able to quickly change the demo in weekly cycles  – enabling us to reach a great outcome quickly. But most of all they were very friendly, flexible and we all loved going over to their studio!”

The experience was featured in the press, including Bloomberg, VentureBeat and Retail Times.



  • Virtual retail environments
  • Live in-game virtual payments
  • Premium paid-for content in VR