Cashier-free Store Closer to Entering the Hungarian Market


Financial payments and transfer technology company Mastercard has presented a checkout-free store it is supporting, equipped with artificial intelligence-based technology that it says is uniquein Hungary.

The new mobile, cashier-less container store, equipped with AI-controlled systems, can make the shopping experience faster and more enjoyable for customers, Mastercard says. The latest research suggests that rapid and efficient shopping with minimal waiting time is increasingly important to customers.

“At Mastercard, we are constantly working to make payment as simple as possible for customers in all situations. Nobody likes to pay, so we all want to spend as little time as possible at the cash register,” says Ferenc Szász, Mastercard's business development director.

Shopping in the store is simple: to enter, visitors need to download and open an application on their phones, freely collect the products from the shelves in the shopping area and pack the selected items into their bags, and then leave without being checked out by a cashier or using a self-checkout station.

The application used to enter takes care of payment once the customer walks out of the store, making for a unique shopping experience. With the help of AI-controlled cameras and weight sensors, the app determines which products were chosen. It does so in a GDPR-compliant way by following general privacy guidelines, as cameras do not record the faces of the shoppers, the company insists.

Background Payment

Payments happen in the background, with the customer’s bank card, which is connected to the app. Kende Retail Operation Kft. has presented the store, which was open for the public to try at Budapest Park until July 10, as an exclusive distributor.

“Technology now makes it possible to complete the purchase without waiting, as all the necessary processes take place in the background with the usual security. This is when check-in is also check-out,” Szász explains.

Mastercard says it is happy to support the new technology, as it is with the help of such innovations that the process of everyday payments will become smoother. For now, there are two similar containers in Hungary, but the distributor is confident that the cash register could soon disappear from several retail stores, although no shop brands or precise timetable have been given as yet.

According to the plans, the mobile container store can next be visited at the Business Days conference in the fall, besides Mastercard’s own events.

The so-called “just walk out” technology was revolutionized in the United States by Amazon Go, which has already applied this innovative paying method in larger grocery stores and opened its first such store in the United Kingdom in 2021.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of July 15, 2022.

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