Payment Methods

PayPal Debuts QR Codes To Help SMBs Go Contactless


Although the country is starting to reopen following mandatory shutdowns amid the coronavirus pandemic, social distancing is still a must for face-to-face interactions. To help people maintain distance while venturing out for in-person transactions, PayPal has introduced contactless QR codes for payments.

“We know that in the current environment, buying and selling goods in a health-conscious, safe and secure way is front of mind for many people around the world,” John Kunze, senior vice president of branded experiences, PayPal, said in a statement on Tuesday (May 19).

He added that demand for safer digital payments has accelerated as people transition from stay-at-home mandates to in-person scenarios. PayPal’s QR codes for both buyers and sellers incorporate “the safety, security and convenience of using PayPal in-person” while at the same time allowing for social distancing. 

The QR codes are available in 28 markets worldwide, including farmers markets and resale shops. Transaction fees are being waived for any sales utilizing QR codes.

The QR codes can be used within the PayPal wallet for in-person transactions, getting rid of the need for cash. By way of example, vendors selling at a farmers market can print their code and leave it out for easy scanning by customers.

This limits physical interaction and any handling of checkout technology tools or cash. People just use their smartphones to scan the codes right inside the PayPal app.

Aside from the U.S., PayPal is launching QR code payments in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovenia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, and the U.K. 

The worldwide pandemic has boosted the use of PayPal as a payment method. On May 1, PayPal experienced its biggest single day of transactions in the company’s history — bigger than both Black Friday and Cyber Monday of 2019.



The pressure on banks to modernize their payments capabilities to support initiatives such as ISO 20022 and instant/real time payments has been exacerbated by the emergence of COVID-19 and the compelling need to quickly scale operations due to the rapid growth of contactless payments, and subsequent increase in digitization. Given this new normal, the need for agility and optimization across the payments processing value chain is imperative.