PayPal partners to trial POS tech

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PayPal has taken another step in its journey to the high street, beginning a pilot of its new POS technology with US retail giant Home Depot.

The small-scale trial means that a group of PayPal employees can use their PayPal accounts to buy goods at five Home Depot stores. Participants can either swipe a card connected to their account or enter a code and their phone number into the terminal.

The pilot is a small step in PayPal’s ambitions to take on card companies Visa and MasterCard in the high street as the boundaries between online and offline merge. The company eventually plans to roll out a ‘one-stop shop’ for merchants, covering the whole shopping lifecycle – ‘acquisition’, ‘conversation’ and ‘retention’.

Says Anuj Nayar, director, communications, PayPal, in a blog post: ‘Stay tuned throughout the year as we continue to re-imagine money and make it work better for merchants and consumers – whatever device you’re on, wherever you are in the world, and however you prefer to pay.’

Similarly, the company has begun testing a contactless mobile payments application in Sweden, teaming with two major retailers for the Christmas pilot.

The PayPal Instore apps for iPhones and Android devices link to NFC stickers that users attach to the handsets, according to Mobile Payments today, which first reported the news. These stickers are being provided by ski and sports equipment retailer Alpingaraget and computing outfit Webhallen at their Stockholm stores over the holidays.

Customers can then swipe their handsets against readers to make low-value payments, with the purchase displayed on the mobile for them to confirm.

Local mobile financial services specialist Accumulate has been working on the system with PayPal while manufacturer Point has provided the payments terminals.

The PayPal report – ‘Money: The Digital Tipping Point’ – says that 2016 will be the year when UK shoppers will be able to use their mobile phones to pay for things on the high street with digital money rather than cash, cheques or cards. PayPal’s findings are based on a commissioned survey conducted by Forrester Consulting on PayPal’s behalf consisting of interviews with 10 senior executives from major UK retailers and other businesses, representing a combined 2010 turnover of £85 billion.

45 million Britons use a mobile phone and 49% of mobile buyers surveyed by Forrester Consulting use their mobile phones to purchase products at least once every three months. In the future a whole range of devices will be used to make payments direct to the retailer – regardless of whether you’re in store or shopping online.

Carl Scheible, managing director of PayPal UK said: ‘We’ll see a huge change over the next few years in the way we shop and pay for things. By 2016, you’ll be able to leave your wallet at home and use your mobile as the 21st century digital wallet. Our vision of money is to enable you to pay for something from wherever you are, whatever device you’re on – a PC, mobile phone, tablet, games console and a whole lot more.

‘2016 will mark the real start of money’s digital switchover in the UK. We’re not saying cash will disappear entirely, but we’ll increasingly use our phones and other devices rather than our wallets to pay in-store as well as online.

‘The lines between the online world and high street will soon disappear altogether. Children born today will become the UK’s first ‘cashless generation’. It will be completely natural for them to pay by mobile.’

The report follows June’s launch of PizzaExpress’s iPhone app that for the first time allows diners in the UK to pay their bill at their table via PayPal using their smartphone. By combining PayPal’s safe and fast online payment system with PizzaExpress’ groundbreaking app, a smooth and easy experience has been created for customers.

As well as paying for goods without having to queue, the report reveals shoppers can look forward to being able to carry digital loyalty cards, promotional offers and receipts on their phones – keeping everything in one place creating a virtual shopping hub.