PayPal introduces QR code payments to aid social distancing when shopping

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People in the UK will be able to pay for items by scanning a QR code with their smartphone from Wednesday, PayPal has announced.

The digital payment giant has introduced a feature to its app which will allow users to scan a code and complete a transaction without having to touch a payment terminal.

PayPal said the feature, which has gone live in the UK and 27 other countries, can help more people go cash-free and maintain social distancing during the coronavirus pandemic.

Many businesses have encouraged customers to use contactless card payments where possible in order to reduce both the handling of cash and unnecessary contact between people during the virus outbreak.

Using the new system, sellers will be able to print off a QR code or display it on another screen for customers with the PayPal app to scan.

Customers then enter the amount they’re paying and send the money immediately to complete the transaction.

PayPal's new QR Code feature in its payment app
PayPal’s new QR Code feature in its payment app (PayPal)

“The need for security and convenience is there, as always, but we now need to be able to sell and buy in a way that is quick, safe and involves limited social contact.

“Digital payments, and this QR code functionality, provides people and small businesses in the UK with the means to pay and get paid during the crisis and hopefully thrive in the future.”

The company confirmed it was also waiving its standard seller transaction fee incurred on sales carried out using the QR codes.

John Kunze, senior vice president of branded experiences at PayPal said buying and selling goods while sticking to social distancing rules had been “front of mind for many people around the world” during the Covid-19 outbreak.

“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,” he said.

“The roll-out of QR codes for buyers and sellers not only incorporates the safety, security and convenience of using PayPal in-person, but also takes into consideration ongoing social distancing requirements, even as we start to see some restrictions be lifted around the world.”

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