January 17, 2013, 2:37 PM

NCR tableside payment service adds PayPal as an option

Consumers use a mobile web site to enter their payment details.

Lead Photo

Consumers can use their PayPal accounts with the NCR Mobile Pay service.

PayPal is the newest payment option available to diners using NCR Corp.’s Mobile Pay tableside payment service. Launched in December, Mobile Pay enables consumers to pay for their meals without handing over a credit or debit card to a server.

This is PayPal’s latest effort to move its payment service into the physical world. Earlier this week PayPal, the payment unit of eBay Inc., announced 23 national retailers now accept PayPal in many of their stores.

Mobile Pay works with businesses that use NCR’s Aloha payment systems. In a restaurant setting, a diner scans a Quick Response bar code, or QR code, printed on her bill with any smartphone scanning app. The customer also can type in a numeric code. That opens a mobile web site that displays her bill. First-time users must enter their payment card numbers and expiration dates to pay with a credit or debit card. To pay with PayPal, diners enter either their user name and password or telephone number and personal identification number. Diners can add a tip, too. Receipts are e-mailed to the consumer once the check is closed, NCR says.

PayPal has a similar service for mobile commerce sites called PayPal Express Checkout. As with Mobile Pay, consumers making purchases with PayPal Express Checkout need only enter their PayPal log-in information to complete transactions. According to the Internet Retailer Mobile 400, 121 of the top 400 retailers, travel companies and ticket sellers in mobile commerce use PayPal Express Checkout on their m-commerce sites.

Once the consumer’s card number is used in Mobile Pay, the consumer can choose to save it, where it is stored securely in Mobile Pay servers hosted by NCR, says Mike Finley, vice president and chief technology officer for hosted solutions at NCR. No data are stored on the smartphone or in the retailer’s payment system. Mobile Pay does not require a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection between the patron’s smartphone and the NCR payment system, relying instead on the phone’s cellular signal, Finley says.

Repeat customers also may request the code on subsequent visits and enter it into the Mobile Pay web site at NCRPay.com. They can then use the site to alert the server, order additional items, select favorites, and give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down feedback on each item. Users can share only a thumbs-up rating on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Users also can verify their orders after the server has placed them into the NCR Aloha system, Finley says.

“With NCR Mobile Pay, consumers take action instead of waiting,” Finley says.

In addition to alleviating consumer fears about handing over their payment cards to servers who then walk away to process the transaction, NCR’s system also may increase the number of times a restaurant can turn over tables with new customers, Finley says. Diners do not have to wait for the server to pick up the card and come back with it. More table turnover equates to more revenue, he says.

Retailers using NCR’s Convenience-Go mobile application for petroleum and convenience stores and those using the NetKey Endless Aisle application for in-store payment now can accept PayPal, too, PayPal says.

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