PayPal Looks to the Cash Register and Beyond

PayPal (NASDAQ:EBAY) likes near-field communications technology, the foundation for Google Wallet (NASDAQ:GOOG) and Isis, but it doesn’t like that the mobile payment system requires users to be in a specific physical location, reports All Things D.

Along with PayPal’s plan to extend its digital payment services to cash registers at retail locations using PIN codes, credit cards and other means, the company hopes to implement a mobile payment strategy aimed at allowing customers to pay for items when they are not near a cash register.

Google, Visa (NYSE:V), MasterCard (NYSE:MA) and a group of wireless carriers, including AT&T (NYSE:T), Verizon Wireless (NYSE:VZ) (NASDAQ:VOD) and T-Mobile, are all working on solutions using near-field technology, which will allow customers to pay for items by tapping their mobile phones at the register. This will require retailers to upgrade their point-of-sale technology and consumers to upgrade their mobile phones.

According to All Things D, David Marcus, PayPal’s vice president of mobile, thinks near-field technology will be useful, but says the company wants to do more than “replace swiping with tapping.”

Marcus sees a future where shoppers could pay for items right in the aisles instead of waiting in line at the register, or where items could be purchased online then picked up later at the store, said the report.

PayPal fared better than it had hoped for in 2011, with $4 billion in mobile payment volume. It expects that number to grow to $7 billion this year. One of last year’s mobile purchases was a $40,000 backhoe, which a customer bought using PayPal on their phone.

“By the time NFC catches up, we will be in a world that will move away from the point-of-sales terminal,” Marcus said.