PayPal launches QR codes to limit physical contact for casual sellers

20 May 2020

Maeve Dorman, vice-president of global merchant services at PayPal. Image: PayPal

PayPal has launched a new QR code payment functionality that can be used by small businesses and casual sellers who do not have card machines and rely on cash.

PayPal is rolling out the ability to use QR codes to pay for goods and services through its app in Ireland and 27 other markets around the globe.

The company said that the new QR functionality is a “quick and safe” way to complete an in-person transaction using a PayPal wallet, while limiting physical contact and eliminating the need to handle cash.

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 added that the feature could be used in shops that have no card machine, or by takeaway delivery drivers or tradespeople such as window cleaners who might typically rely on cash payments. The aim of the QR functionality is to limit interaction with cash or checkout technology, allowing customers to use their own smartphone for payments instead.

‘Covid-19 has changed the shopping experience’

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 methods such as the QR functionality 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. Instructions on how users can generate the QR codes can be found 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.”

As well as 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.

Kelly Earley was a journalist with Silicon Republic