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PayPal takes another step toward offline ubiquity

PayPal continues its pattern of smart partnerships that further its mobile payment and offline strategies — and its pattern of announcing them at the National Retail Federation's Big Show in New York. Last year it was PayPal joining with point-of-sale device-maker Ingenico; this year it's an even bigger partnership: NCR Corp.

PayPal and NCR have announced a strategic alliance that will integrate PayPal's digital wallet technology into NCR solutions, enabling PayPal account holders to do things such as order and pay for restaurant fare from their mobile devices, pay for gas at the pump using a mobile application, or scan and pay for items while browsing in retail stores.

"As a global technology leader across multiple industries, NCR is committed to partner with organizations that seek to maximize the adoption of digital wallets and mobile payments to help our customers provide more choice, greater control, and increased flexibility for their consumers," said John Bruno, CTO and EVP at NCR, in the announcement.

"Combining NCR's broad hospitality and retail footprint with PayPal's global customer base enables restaurants and retailers to redesign the consumer experience with mobile-enhanced shopping and payments while materially improving business processes and creating seamless consumer experiences across touch points, locations, and channels," Bruno said.

What makes this deal particularly important for PayPal is the sheer scope of NCR's point-of-sale footprint. The company claims a customer base that includes 38 percent of the top 100 U.S. restaurant chains and 50 percent of the major retail chains as well as eight of the 10 fastest-growing quick service restaurants and fast casual restaurant chains as clients. In total, there more than 1.2 million retail POS systems and more than 100,000 self-checkout units bear the NCR brand.

That's a lot of merchants who can now offer PayPal at the point of sale.

Beyond the payment

But it's not just "paying with PayPal" that makes this an interesting deal for both players. PayPal has been pushing a number of compelling value propositions to its 117 million account holders via its cloud-based digital wallet approach. PayPal wants its users to have access to their payment accounts, discounts and offers from any device or location, be it online or off, mobile or stationary. Using NCR's new mobile applications for restaurants and convenience stores, PayPal will now enable even more account holders to reach their digital wallets in the cloud.

To begin accessing those digital wallets, NCR and PayPal will initially integrate PayPal mobile payment options into the NCR Mobile Pay application and the NCR Aloha Online Ordering software. It's through the NCR Mobile Pay app linked to the NCR Aloha POS solution that restaurant patrons will be able to look at their bills, order menu items and pay. PayPal will be available as a payment option and users of the PayPal mobile application will be able to locate and "check in" at NCR Mobile Pay merchants.

NCR's Convenience-Go application will also integrate PayPal for petroleum and convenience stores. A white-label solution, "C-Go" lets consumers pay for gas and food from their phones at the pump or in-store.

The companies also said they will include PayPal as a payment option in NCR's Netkey Endless Aisle application, which uses kiosks deployed in-store to allow online shopping at a brick-and-mortar location.

"Consumers and retailers want choice when it comes to purchasing and making payments as the lines between shopping online and in-the-store are rapidly disappearing," said Don Kingsborough, PayPal's vice president of retail and prepaid, in the announcement.

"PayPal is at the forefront of digital and mobile payments, constantly striving to remove friction for merchants and consumers to deliver a better shopping experience," Kingsborough said.

Long-term integration between the companies will extend to NCR's Advanced Marketing Solution, which gives merchants the ability to manage loyalty programs and offers. Through that integration, consumers will receive coupons and offers to their mobile devices when they check in at a store.

A video from NCR and PayPal explaining the partnership is below:

For more stories like this, visit the POS research center.

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