PayPal added QR code capabilities to its person-to-person (P2P) mobile payments platform Venmo, ahead of Apple’s launch of a rival service in a forthcoming iOS upgrade.
The addition of a QR code option for social payments is designed to ease transactions by allowing customers to scan a code on a recipient’s phone to swap details, rather than having to type in username information or exchange bank details.
Although the use of QR codes in the US is relatively uncommon, their prevalence in some of the world’s biggest mobile payment markets is huge. China’s big two – Alipay and WeChatPay – both perform the vast majority of retail transactions using the system.
The upgrade to Venmo comes as PayPal reported increased traction for the platform.
In its latest earnings statement for the three months to the end of June, PayPal reported Venmo transaction values were up 103 per cent year-on-year to $8 billion. This follows similar growth in the January to March period.
Since the start of 2017, PayPal increased its P2P presence, inking deals with a number of messaging apps to allow payments to be made through their platforms.
Notably, in February, the company announced a tie-up with Slack and last week signed-up Skype to offer PayPal-powered transfers through its app.
Small transfers, big players
As P2P mobile payments grow for PayPal, the company faces increased competition as new rivals enter the space.
It also faces competition from a number of smaller players, in addition to mainstream financial services companies looking to take back transaction share.
In mid-June a consortium of US banks launched Zelle, a service aimed at customers of member banks looking to quickly transfer small amounts of money to phone and email contacts. The banking group said it would ease digital money transfer for 86 million people.