From Morning Coffee to Dinner Date, PayPal Lets You Leave Your Wallet at Home

Pretty soon, it won’t matter whether your wallet is designer brand or falling apart yet still kicking from your university days because nobody will see it. You can leave it at home thanks to a growing number of initiatives designed to take the wallet digital via companies like PayPal.

Yesterday, we hit Toronto’s Ossington hotspot Boehmer, where reps from the online payment service demonstrated a simple, new way for consumers to use its smartphone app to pay at 50 notable bars, restaurants, coffee shops and even food trucks across Toronto. This marks the first of its prevalence in the Canadian market, after having been available to varying degrees in the US, Europe and Australia for the past year (perhaps you’ve already used it on your travels?) They plan to expand to other Canadian markets in the future, but restaurant owners from across the country can start now if they are currently using the iPad TouchBistro point of purchase service in English. The app is free for iPhone, Android and Windows mobile devices. 

It seems difficult to imagine, but PayPal has already been around for a decade, and 5.5 million Canadians are currently using it. There are 9 million payments made daily via the site and retailers around the globe are increasingly turning to it, including long-established Canadian companies like The Hudson Bay Company and Roots. We have a feeling, however, that most social young professionals (YPs) know it best for processing payments for tickets to parties and charity events. Now, when it comes to picking up the tab, dining out has become just as easy (and less embarrassing in the event that you forget your wallet). You don’t need cash in your PayPal account to pay, either; this can be done through your debit or credit cards. The consumer benefit is the convenience (all you need is your phone), speed and security. 

Even for the technologically challenged, the app is incredibly user-friendly – even for your parents. The most difficult part may be choosing a selfie to use, a requirement of the function. The app is tied to your geo location and displays nearby PayPal-accepting establishments, within 75-kilometre radius, in order of proximity. With one swipe, you can check yourself into the location – whether your local coffee shop or a fancy restaurant – before you even get out of your car (or off of the streetcar). Once it comes time to pay, all it takes is a simple swipe to the right.

When it comes to things like your local coffee shop, the app helps baristas serve customers faster. Great coffee places mean lineups, after all… and nobody likes lineups. Your morning coffee can be ready in half of the time because they can get your order ready once you check in, and you won’t be fumbling for change for that last-minute decision to add a muffin to your coffee purchase. As a customer, you can get preferential treatment, meaning you can get your coffee and get checked out in three taps before the three people ahead of you in line know what happened. The merchants will know exactly who you are because your picture pops up once you check it. 

This means, naturally, that the app helps establishments get to know their customers better and to build customer loyalty by offering special offers with a coupon function in the app, as represented by a scissors icon. Don’t worry, though: if you decide to use a coupon, it remains anonymous and secret so your date will never know the difference (you so don’t want to be that person). Equally as secret is all of your personal information, along with your tip history, which is never shared with the merchant. They only see your picture, first name, how many times you have visited and your average spend. Once you’ve paid, you will have the receipt emailed to you (saving trees in the process) and your picture will automatically disappear from the merchant’s screen. 

In terms of tipping, it is simple and included in the feature. You can even preset the tip amount in each restaurant if, for example, you know the service is always great and reliable at a particular establishment or you know the owner and choose to subsequently leave higher tips. In terms of the service, PayPal training is simple and the payment method can be adopted now if you rely on the increasingly popular TouchBistro system. 

As of now, the app is purely for food and drink, but taking a cue from our friends South of the Border, we wouldn’t be surprised if retailers soon start to jump on the bandwagon themselves. The pressure is on, however, before another bank or tech company beats them to it…

#LYNL | (Live Your Notable Life)


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