Forget using a debit card that next time you’re at one of the Big Box stores of the world. PayPal has a new trick up its sleeve.
Traditionally used as an alternative way to make and receive payments online, PayPal now offers consumers with a way to use its service in stores. That’s right: Soon you will be able to use your PayPal account to pay for things offline.
Shopping offline makes a comeback
According to an article by the Wall Street Journal, PayPal payments will be accepted by major retailers. These retailers will use their existing scanners, so no new equipment will be necessary to facilitate the new way to pay. Merchants without a scanner can still process payments using a four-digit code displayed on the PayPal app so that payment information can be transferred to the retailer’s card terminal.
All consumers need to do is download PayPal’s QR code so that it can be scanned and voila – the purchase has been made. This new service should be available sometime in the first quarter of 2014.
As an added bonus, the new app will also bundle store promotions and deals so that consumers get the best deals possible.
To use the QR codes, consumers will need to open either the PayPal app or a specific merchant’s app, and check-in. Merchants will be able to scan the QR code to receive payment.
The best thing about QR codes is that all smartphones have the capacity to display them, so it opens up the marketplace for millions of users.
Keeping up with the Jones’s
Keeping consumers happy is one way to make sure quarterly profits stay up, but PayPal’s decision to get in on the QR code payment system in real life, so to speak, was most likely done to keep up with the stiff competition already offering such services.
Currently, Square, Google Wallet, Lemon and Stripe all offer shoppers easy-pay options with QR codes and provide PayPal with stiff competition. However, PayPal’s early success online as the go-to provider for alternative forms of payment should enable it to hold its own in the marketplace.
The future of QR codes
Whether consumers will eagerly use QR codes at brick and mortar stores over traditional payment option remains to be seen. At this point, QR codes offer yet another simple way to make a payment, but it is hard to tell if that method is really something consumers will gravitate toward.
Dana Rasmussen writes about trends in digital marketing and social media. She uses the old school version of PayPal when shopping online for used cubicles to go in her home office.