PayPal is taking another crack at in-store payments with the announcement of a new service called Payment Code.

Consumers can make a purchase by scanning a QR code on their phone at checkout.
The approach is designed to attract retailers who can leverage their existing payments infrastructure.

From a consumer’s point of view, this approach seems no quicker than using a debit or credit card. However, PayPal argues the attraction is that consumers can redeem any special offers or reward points automatically when the transaction is processed in this way.

Among its partners on the new service is Discover Financial Services, the credit card, whose existing relationships with retailers across the US will ease the rollout of Payment Code.

The service will launch commercially in the first quarter of 2014.

When they are ready to pay, shoppers open the PayPal app (or a specific merchant’s app), check in and receive a QR code which the sales assistant scans to take a payment.

Alternatively, in the absence of a barcode scanner at the point-of-sale, the consumer inputs a four-digit short code into the PIN pad at checkout (delivered along with the QR code on the handset).

The new approach seems like an improvement on PayPal’s existing approach to in-store payments which involves consumers entering their mobile number and an additional PIN, or using a physical PayPal card, at checkout.

The payments firm has partnered with Discover on delivering the latter service since last year.