PayPal storms the UK high street with inStore app

Paying with your smartphone – NFC or not – has arrived in a small group of British high street stores. But will it catch on?

Your worn down leather wallet has been doing a pretty fine job of clinging on to its power. So far, it's shaken NFC's courage as cash monies don't cost retailers a thing whereas swipe-to-pay tech does. And it's kept fancy check-in payment services like Pay with Square over in the US-side of the Atlantic for now.

But PayPal knows a thing or two about showing cash who's boss. And the new PayPal inStore app for iPhone, iPad and Android looks like it could speed up queues if nothing else.

Shoppers will be able to pay via the app from Thursday 31st May onwards but only in women's clothes shops Oasis, Warehouse, Coast and Karen Millen to start in the UK. In America, FootLocker, Nine West, Abercrombie & Fitch and Toys R Us have all signed up to the scheme.

Set up the inStore app with a pin code then sign into your PayPal account. Then when you want to pay, get a roving shop assistant with an iPad and scanner to scan your onscreen barcode and the money will be taken from your account. Or get your phone scanned at the till – this probably only saves a few seconds but, in theory, you can leave your wallet at home.

PayPal reckons retailers will give discounts to sweeten the deal and the app will work even where there's no reception or Wi-Fi coverage. That's like witchcraft, that is.

UPDATE: You can also use the PayPal inStore app to request a refund. You'll get a unique refund transaction code but then still have to sling it down to the store to show the cashier for your pennies back.

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