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Paypal seek knowledge, not profit, in Swedish NFC Trial

  • By Timothy Roberts
  • Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Paypal might be happy to publicly push solutions for mobile payment that are slightly more low tech (such as their new Paypal Card recently demonstrated to 150 US companies), but that doesn’t mean they’re going to stick their head in the sand and ignore shiny toys and new technology such as Near Field Communication (NFC).

The festive season saw Paypal run a limited trial of NFC in Sweden. Available at two stores in Stockholm, it allowed Android and iOS users to download a dedicated application called PayPal Instore, that would talk with with tags around the store that would register what a customer was purchasing, confirming the amount at the end of the shopping trip.

The goal, as with many limited trials that were run during 2011, is not to create profit but to generate knowledge. The trial helps PayPal understand what customers, and more importantly what the retail merchants are looking for in a partner such as PayPal.

There may be some small successes in 2012 in mobile payments, but for companies that are looking for the multi-billion dollar prizes, they need knowledge, experience, and partners who are all reading from the same page of the payment script.

That’s why PayPal, even with their noises about ignoring cute ideas like NFC, will still run trials, and keep themselves in the various strands of the payment game.