PayPal unveils new way for SMEs to accept contact-free payments

Company using system with QR codes to allow people pay for goods and services

PayPal has introduced a new way for small businesses and casual traders to accept contact-free payments for goods and services in person using QR codes.

The new service, which launched on Tuesday afternoon, is available to more that one million active PayPal users in Ireland, along with 27 other countries.

The QR payments are being pitched as particularly useful for small businesses and casual sellers without card machines, or delivery services that would typically rely on cash such as takeaways, coffee kiosks, market traders or casual sellers on Facebook Marketplace.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, consumers are being encouraged to use less cash as one of the measures to help slow spread of the virus.

"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," said Maeve Dorman, vice president of global merchant services at PayPal. "Digital payments, and this QR code functionality, allow for this and could be the means through which small Irish businesses survive during the crisis and potentially thrive in the future."

Scan with smartphone

The QR code can be accessed through the PayPal app. Sellers can print a QR code and have their consumers scan it with their smartphone camera, enter the amount they’re paying and immediately send the money.

PayPal is also waiving its standard seller transaction fees incurred for sales conducted using a QR code, for a limited time.

Other countries getting the QR code payments include Australia, Canada,France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.