PayPal is giving its users yet another way to pay in stores. The service is launching a new mobile payment method called "payment code," which allows merchants to scan a QR code from a user's phone to charge their PayPal account. PayPal tells The Wall Street Journal that millions of merchants will be able to accept payments this way using their existing scanners, so long as they update their cash register's software. If the merchant doesn't have a scanner, PayPal's app will instead be able to display a four-digit code that can transfers payment information directly to a traditional card terminal.
PayPal has been working hard to move offline
The service is expected to roll out across the globe during the first quarter of next year. Though the new code system may not separate payments from cash registers in the way that PayPal would ultimately like, they could be an important accessibility option — one that almost anyone can use. Moving its services offline has been a continued challenge for PayPal: it's already launched a competitor to Square, and it's brought thousands of retailers on board to use a separate in-store payment system — though setting that one up appears to be a bit more involved on the merchant's part. It appears to view payment codes as another important piece in that puzzle.
PayPal also says that its new service will be able to seamlessly bundle special offers and rewards programs into the mix, and that payment codes can be built right into retailers' own apps as well. "This allows millions to shop how they want," Don Kingsborough, PayPal's vice president of retail, tells the Journal. Whether people truly do want to shop offline using PayPal does remain a question though, but if they do, PayPal seems to be on its way to making sure they'll be able to in a fairly easy way.