PayPal is consigning the shop till to the dustbin in a way that could completely wipe Visa and MasterCard out of the shopping equation.
The website is gearing up to allow punters to pay for products in-store by scanning barcodes with a mobile, and allow payments to be authorised with a phone number - among other new features.
Merchants will be able to push location-based adverts and vouchers, and the site will offer a buy-now-pay-later service. What's more, there's no demand for an NFC chip.
Some strategic start-up acquisitions, including the snapping up of BillMeLater.com and shop search website Milo.com, have given PayPal the firepower to break into these new areas.
PayPal has whizzed up a glossy video explaining it all, but here's how a shopping trip could play out in the future:
- Payment at the till with your mobile number: Tap in your phone number and PIN at the cash register to authorise a payment from your chosen bank account. No credit card is involved.
- Payment at the till with a PayPal card: Customers who like the feel of plastic can use a PayPal card, which is not associated with a bank and just needs a swipe and correct PIN.
- Payment with your phone: Scan a barcode with your mobile in a shop and pay for it immediately with an app, skipping the checkout queues.
- Finding and ordering products on your phone in the shop and get them delivered to your house: You see a t-shirt in a shop, but they don't have it in your size. You can scan the barcode again, search through the shop's inventory for one that's right (using technology that PayPal bought from Milo), buy it on your phone, and order it for delivery to your house.
One major strength of the PayPal model is that it doesn't necessarily require new kit for the consumer and merchant, giving it the edge over wireless NFC-based rivals.
The other is that PayPal already has 100m customers. ®