The Safe Way to Pay: Consumers and Businesses Embrace PayPal’s QR Codes

Amid the global pandemic that’s reinvented how we interact in-person, consumer demand for all things touch-free has surged – driving the rapid growth of QR codes. 

While the 20-year-old technology has long enjoyed strong adoption across China and throughout Southeast Asia, 2020 is the year the U.S. has fully embraced touch-free payments. 

Necessity often breeds innovation and PayPal has reimagined QR codes for the current climate, allowing businesses to accept payments from customers at a distance, keeping everyone involved in the transaction process safe, without sacrificing speedy service. 

Let’s take a look at what QR codes are and how they can quickly benefit your business and win over consumers in the COVID-19 era.

PayPal QR Codes



Prior to this year, Americans preferred paying with physical forms of money and weren’t looking for change. But, the recently released PYMNTS “How We Shop” report highlights that preference has shifted with 57% of respondents reporting they now choose merchants partly based on whether or not they offer digital payments options.¹ 

So, what exactly is a QR code? Short for “Quick Response code,” it’s a barcode featuring a pattern of squares arranged on a readable grid for mobile devices that was first invented in the 1990s by the Japanese auto industry.  

What do QR codes do? Unlike your traditional grocery store barcodes most of us are familiar with, QR codes can store up to 100 times more information. The information stored are generally URLs, but they can contain virtually anything; from contact data, to geolocation, and (of course) transaction information. 

Bottom line? QR codes are a quick (hence the word featured in its name) way to prompt people to a particular online destination.  


Touch-free payments – and QR codes specifically – have helped provide a sense of safety as it does not require someone to touch a keypad or pen that may have been used just minutes earlier. Back in May, PayPal unveiled PayPal QR Codes as a way to help small businesses impacted by the pandemic to stay open with an alternative method for accepting touch-free payments without the burden of employing complex hardware. 

And, there’s a wide array of additional benefits to introducing PayPal QR Codes into your business: 

  • QR codes allow you to continue serving customers without fundamentally changing your business model. 
  • QR codes can help expand your business, creating an easy way to offer delivery and pickup services. 
  • If your business is on-the-go and you don’t either have or typically use a storefront location (i.e. landscapers, handymen, dog walkers, etc…), the mobility of QR codes lets you operate your business anytime, anywhere. 
  • Generally, when upgrading ways customers can purchase goods and services from your business, a costly terminal or POS (Point of Sale) is required. With QR codes, all that’s needed is a smartphone (and the PayPal app) to scan or display a code. 
  • Nothing beats convenience, and QR codes are a fast and simple way to transfer payment information between you and your customers. Plus, they’re one-size-fits-all; so one code can help service all your transaction needs. 
  • In the coronavirus era, our health (and that of our loved ones) has become paramount. With QR codes, handling physical forms of payment is no longer necessary, giving both you and your customers peace-of-mind. 



Currently available in the U.S. and 28 countries worldwide (including Canada, the U.K., France, Italy, Germany, Spain, and Australia) PayPal is helping both merchants and consumers with the touch-free ability to do business as usual, safely. 

Plus, creating your own unique QR code is simple and only takes a few minutes. So, get started today with PayPal’s QR Codes and help propel your business into the future of the global consumer marketplace.

¹ PYMNTS “How We Shop Report”   


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