Of Special Interest

20th December 2011

PayPal Swedish contactless POS trial

It is reported that PayPal is to carry out a very small scale contactless payment trial in Sweden. The trial involves just two retailers. It gets over the lack of NFC phones through the use of stickers and a downloadable Android / iPhone App . The sticker is waved across the NFC POS terminals as would happen with a NFC phone or card. When the label on the phone is read the transaction is then sent to the App for the customer to confirm - presumably requiring mobile broadband or WiFi availability. PayPal is reported to be placing personnel in the stores to assist customers.

The trial is portrayed by some as a NFC trial, though it clearly is not. Even in mobile phone fanatical Sweden the number of customers who can be bothered with all the work of downloading an app and affixing a sticker to use in just two retailers in the whole world must be low, unless the discounts offered are amazingly good. The concept that PayPal could steal a lead on the major card companies by offering an alternative contactless payment method through the use of stickers is interesting, to a point. Android phones already come with a QR reader installed and an App can be downloaded for iPhones. It would be an easy step for a QR 'barcode' to rack up a payment for the user to confirm rather than take you to a specified website. Exactly why either model is superior to sticking your card into a terminal will remain controversial for transaction requiring some form of user confirmation (above the €25 or equivalent floor limit for non confirmed transactions).