The arrival of digital money on Britain’s high street has been anticipated for some time, and this year its potential is finally being realised with PayPal in store. Launched in May 2012 at Oasis and other major retail brands, the new system uses a mobile phone app that allows customers to pay via PayPal on the high street, bringing the flexibility of online shopping to the high street for the first time.
Far from being a payment solution of the distant future, m-commerce has arrived. PayPal estimates it will handle $10bn of mobile payments in 2012, up from $4bn last year. After all, consumers are using mobile phones for a huge variety of tasks, from social media to streaming content, so it’s not surprising that mobile payments are also taking off.
PayPal wants to create a great shopping experience whether you’re on the sofa at home browsing the internet or visiting your local shop. Bringing PayPal to the high street is a natural move, building on our experience making it easier and safer to pay online over the past decade. We predict that by 2016 consumers won’t need a wallet to shop on the UK high street – a mobile will be enough.
PayPal PoS Trade Show Final Cut from Newspepper on Vimeo.
So how does PayPal work in store? Customers simply download the app and register it to their PayPal account. After setting up a PIN number, used to log in to the app each time for added security, customers use a unique barcode (generated by the app) for each transaction, with no personal information or money stored on the phone. Payments, refunds and discounts are all managed through the same secure app.
The strength of PayPal’s in store service lies in its simplicity. Unlike NFC (near field communication) technology, which needs new hardware installed at every till, PayPal in-store works seamlessly with existing high street retail infrastructure. We’re not asking retailers to completely change their point of sale systems, or demanding that customers buy a new mobile phone. Instead, we’re working in partnership with retailers, using their existing barcode and scanner system to make paying by mobile very simple.
The way we shop is about to change dramatically. The store of the future will look very different, with less emphasis on counter-based tills and more focus on portable sales points, using tablets and mobile devices (expect to be able to pay for clothes in the changing room!). At PayPal, we’re not interested in technology for technology’s sake; we’re trying to help retailers use technology to give an even better experience to their customers.
The mobile phone has changed our lives. It’s about to help transform the way we shop on the high street.