The summer of mobile payments
It has been a hot season for using high tech to collect (mostly) low value payments. This week's big news is that PayPal will be able to process payments at any merchant that accepts Discover. TechCrunch provided the quick details of how customers will be able to pay via their PayPal account without the merchant having to make any modifications to their POS systems.
Earlier this summer Square arranged to take payments at Starbucks while Target, Walmart and Best Buy formed a joint venture aimed at letting customers pay via mobile.
Venture Beat used Square/Starbucks as an example of how mobile payments present challenges to merchants and Open Forum looked at 5 major benefits that they could see as motivation. Like most consumer matters it is mostly about offering choice. Walmart even has a project going in the other direction, one where consumers can buy online and then travel to Walmart to make their payment.