Walk into a retail store ready to buy, or try to pay a bar or restaurant tab and your options are fairly limited. You can pull out a wad of cash or lay down your credit or debit card, just like you have always done. But if you leave your wallet at home, you can count on having to turn back around and go get it.
With the advent of a new in-store payment option, that may be changing. Partly because of one big name company with an interest in acquiring new customers away from the online arena.
For quite a while, most of the spotlight from digital wallets has focused on Google and the aptly named Google Wallet. But the technology and infrastructure improvements for both retailers and customers in adoption of near field communications (NFC) have proved to be a significant hurdle in the United States and other countries.
That may be why Internet giant PayPal, the payment arm of eBay, is heading in another direction, one that is giving customers more options at the point-of-sale.
Their initial foray into in-store mobile payments was a trial run with Home Depot, starting with five stores and expanding to about 2,000 locations nationwide. But in order to achieve real scalability, PayPal realized they would need to work with the companies that provide the payment integration software for retailers, large and small.
In-Store PayPal Payments Integrated Via the POS
When PayPal started pushing their in-store mobile payment initiative and began talking to large retailers across the United States, many of these companies asked a question early in the conversation. They wanted to know whether their payment integration software provider, AJB Software, supported what PayPal was trying to do. And once PayPal heard this question a few times, they realized that AJB had an important connection with many of these large scale retailers.
"So they actually reached out to (AJB), and asked us whether we were interested in incorporating the PayPal competency within our products," Pat Polillo, Vice President of Sales at AJB Software said.
With 20 percent of North America's top 100 retailers (measured by sales volume) as clients, and covering many different verticals, AJB creates the software that gives retailers the ability to accept a variety of payment types. The company also has relationships with each of the major POS providers, working together to provide the software integration their clients will need.
And that made AJB the perfect partner for the push toward in-store mobile payments using PayPal.
"(PayPal) could go knock on individual retailer doors, but they can't get scalability quickly," Polillo said. "And the way to scale quickly is, let me get the company that provides that core capability to the retailer, let me get him to integrate and support our transaction set and now I immediately have the ability to scale quickly and get to X number of customers in a short time."
Restaurants and Bars Add Mobile In-Store Payments With PayPal
Another company that's adding PayPal as an in-store mobile payment option is Austin, Texas-based Tabbedout. Designed for bars and restaurants, this mobile payment solution allows customers to view and pay their tab via smart phone, using either an iPhone or an Android.
With more than 400 bars and restaurants nationwide catering to their mobile payment app, Tabbedout plans to introduce a PayPal option at select locations in Austin, Texas this March. This launch marks a first for the online payments pioneer, the first time consumers can use their PayPal accounts to settle up at bars and restaurants.
"PayPal has been a major force in advancing mobile commerce by making it simple for its 106 active users to pay on any device, anytime," Paul Fiore, Tabbedout CEO said. "We're thrilled to bring Tabbedout users another easy way to settle their tabs."
Designed to give hospitality businesses and their customers more flexibility in the way they pay and get paid, Tabbedout integrates with key industry POS systems. It's a win for both sides since these connections give Tabbedout access to over 70 percent of the restaurant and bar market, while merchants need not purchase additional hardware to add the PayPal option for consumers.
Easy to use, the mobile app also means that customers never have to worry about their credit cards being out of their hands at a busy restaurant or bar. Simply launch the application, tap "Nearby locations" to select the establishment, and choose "Open a Tab."
Show the five-digit Tabbedout code to the server, and he or she will see a matching code on the restaurant's POS system. The waiter or bartender will add your orders to the tab, and when you're ready to leave, settle the tab and go. If you choose to pay via PayPal, you'll enter your secure username and password as requested by the app.
Many people who do business on the Internet use PayPal to pay and get paid. With these advances in in-store mobile payment integration, a lot of new customers may soon become familiar with the company.