PayPal launches QR codes to limit physical contact for casual sellers

PayPal has launched a new QR code functionality that can be used by small businesses and , such as takeaways and tradespeople, who do not have card machines and rely on cash in hand.

On Tuesday (19 May), PayPal announced that it has rolled out the ability to use QR codes to buy and sell goods in Ireland and 27 other markets around the globe. The new feature will enable PayPal users to buy or sell goods and services face-to-face with limited .

The company said that the new QR functionality in the PayPal app is a “quick and safe” way to complete an in-person transaction using a PayPal wallet, eliminating the need to handle cash. PayPal described some of the scenarios in which the technology can be used.

The company said: “For example, customers who are selling items in-person at a local coffee shop can print a QR code, place it on their table and have consumers simply scan, enter the amount they're paying and send money immediately.”

PayPal said that the feature could be used in shops that have no card machine, or by takeaway delivery drivers who rely on cash in hand, as well as tradespeople such as window cleaners. The aim of the QR functionality is to limit the customer's interaction with checkout technology, by allowing them to use their smartphone instead.

The launch of PayPal's QR codes

Maeve Dorman, vice-president of global merchant services at PayPal, said: “Covid-19 has changed the shopping experience in Ireland as we know it. Not only do people need security and convenience, as always, they now need to be able to sell and buy in a way that is quick, safe and involves limited social contact.”

Dorman said that digital payments and the introduction of QR functionality allows for this and could be “the means through which small businesses survive during this crisis”.

The company has also said that for a limited time, it is waiving its standard seller transaction fees incurred for sales conducted using a QR code. PayPal has published instructions on how users can generate the QR codes here.

John Kunze, senior vice-president of branded experiences at PayPal said: “We know that in the current environment, buying and selling goods in a health-conscious, safe and secure way is front of mind for many people around the world.

“As the coronavirus situation has evolved, we have seen a surge in demand for digital payments to transition to include new in-person environments and situations.”

Aside from Ireland, the feature is now available in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, the UK and the US.

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