PayPal is stepping up its bid to take on card companies Visa and MasterCard in the high street as the boundaries between online and offline merge.
The eBay unit, which built its business in the world of e-commerce, is seeking to extend its reach and connect Internet and 'real-world' commerce.
In a blog, president Scott Thompson says: "There's a "new normal" in retail. Shopping is 24×7 and it happens everywhere - not just in a store or website. The intersection of smartphones, social media, online and offline shopping has put the consumer squarely in control."
The company plans to roll out a "one-stop shop" for merchants, covering the whole shopping lifecycle - 'acquisition', 'conversation' and 'retention'.
This will see geo-targeted advertising through mobile phones to help merchants entice people to their shops. Once customers are in-store they will be able to scan barcodes and carry out real-time inventories to find products before paying with their handset or entering their phone numbers and a PIN. For retention, loyalty rewards and 'payment flexibility' will come through the customer's mobile wallet.
The firm revealed earlier this year that it has lined up trials of its point-of-sale system with a major US retailer, and plans to have up to 20 outfits operating the service during 2012.
Thomsons insists that "we're not just shoving a credit card on a phone", arguing that "you've got to have more than just a shiny new technology to really change the way people shop and pay" and that PayPal wants to "free you from the cash register".