Imagine this… it’s a rainy morning, and you’re late for work. You’ve made a mad dash to your favourite cafe and ordered a coffee to go. Now you’re fumbling through your wallet to find change, all the while balancing your umbrella in one hand and adjusting your laptop bag over your shoulder. Is there a better way to settle payment without all the fuss?
Yes, with the PayPal mobile app.
PayPal has partnered with TouchBistro, a point of sale system used by restaurants and cafes, to bring consumers a mobile app that accepts payments on the go with only their smartphone. You can leave your cash, credit cards, and wallet at home for that matter.
To further explain this, PayPal Canada arranged a presentation of its app at one of its merchants, Boehmer Restaurant, late last week. Over elegantly arranged charcuterie boards and delectable hors d’oeuvres served by Boehmer staff, Kerry Reynolds, PayPal Canada’s Head of Consumer Marketing, explained the direction PayPal wants to go in Toronto and gave us the demo of the nifty app.
“We’ve found about twice as many people used mobile devices to shop in the past year compared to year before“, says Reynolds. It’s not only clear that mobile payment is here to stay, but also growing at a rapid rate. PayPal Canada is targeting small to medium sized businesses to adopt mobile payment using its app, mostly cafes and restaurants in the Toronto area. The Canadian branch currently has over 50 merchants located in the downtown King and Queen West neighbourhoods, and is looking to expand. Jimmy’s Coffee (one of PayPal’s first customers), The Brickyard Grounds, and Zoe’s Bakery Cafe are just a few examples of businesses accepting PayPal. While focusing on eateries and coffee shops, Reynolds remarked that food trucks (like Caplansky’s) are also in this target customer pool.
How do you pay with the app?
A closer look at the PayPal app (compatible with Apple iOS and Android) yields a clean design and easy usage. You can start by browsing businesses accepting PayPal based on your location. Once you’re in the store and are ready to exchange money for goods, simply swipe to “check in” and “pay” on app. Much like the PayPal website, you can add your credit card or debit card as the source of payment in the app. When you are ready to pick up your order and “pay”, the merchant verifies your identity with your PayPal account photo. Coincidentally, many business owners who adopted PayPal have found recognizing their customers invaluably helped build client relationships over time. That’s really it, as far as payment goes. No change to calculate, no cards to swipe, and certainly no pins to enter on a dirty hand-held register.
Other helpful features on the app include the ability to browse and automatically apply special offers from merchants, send money to others, and also the capability to split your bill when you’re out with friends (a must for me!). One handy functionality that’s currently not available in Toronto is the Order Ahead feature, where it allows customers to browse items and order ahead directly from the app. Toronto merchants don’t support this…yet. However, this feature is currently available in businesses across the U.S., the U.K., and Australia. If you’re ever in those areas and want to preorder from your phone, you can do so using the same app.
Is it safe to use the app?
Security is always a concern in a paperless, connected world these days. In fact, my PayPal account was hacked last year, so this makes me a bit hesitant to use the app. PayPal actually offers many safeguarding features, more than what most credit card companies have in place. For example, photo identity is more secure than a signature on a credit card. Sensitive bank or credit card information is never stored on the phone, so losing your phone should not be a problem as far as PayPal goes (though it would totally suck for other reasons!). Like credit card companies, PayPal also allows you to dispute any fraudulent charges.
There’s no doubt that smartphones are an essential tool in our fast-paced life, and paying with PayPal is certainly another rising trend in this city that supports this phenomenon. As more businesses jump on board, I wonder if reaching for our wallets will one day be passé as the digital age continues to flourish. If there still aren’t any incentives for you to check out the app, maybe you can appreciate this…you can finally use that dreaded coupon to discreetly pay on a date!
Photos by Nellie Chen
Check out this video with Toronto’s own Spirit House, Boehmer Restaurant and more.
Toronto restaurants and stores that offer payments via the PayPal mobile app include:
Jimmy’s Coffee on Portland St and Baldwin St
Thor Espresso Bar on Bathurst St
Cafe Novo on Bloor Street West
Zoes at King West
Belly Busters at King West
Come and Get It on Queen West
Lil’ Bean N’ Green in Leslieville
Boehmer Restaurant at Ossington St
Spirit House at Adelaide West
Snakes and Lagers on College Street West
For more info and to get the free PayPal mobile app, visit www.paypal.ca/mobileapp