Could the high street shopping experience really be about to change for good? According to PayPal the answer is a definitive yes. 

The online payment service has announced its new mobile app, PayPal InStore, available on both the Android and iOS and platforms. Pocket-lint was at the launch and was able to try the online service first hand. 

The PayPal InStore app is not to be confused with NFC. NFC contactless payments have endured a stop-start approach and, while not ruling it out completely, PayPal clearly see its payment system as the way forward.

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“NFC is an unnecessary step,” Cameron MClean, PayPal’s UK MD,  told Pocket-lint. “The UK wants a rich shopping experience and the best way to engage between a retailer and a customer is through a smartphone.”

PayPal kindly gave us £50 credit on a temporary PayPal InStore account that we got to use on a Samsung Galaxy S II. Our shopping experience was limited to retailer Oasis, so we had to choose from a range of women’s clothes.

After settling on a rather fetching summer dress (not for us you understand) we fired up the app and wandered over to one of the sales assistants who had an iPad in hand.

Here we were told to press the Pay InStore icon that sits on the apps homepage, which in turn revealed a unique barcode and number. The assistant then typed the price of the item into her iPad before scanning the barcode with a barcode reader. This immediately deducted the money from our temporary PayPal account.

We were then ushered round to the changing rooms where we received our paper receipt, though customers who use the app will also receive an electronic version as an email.

It certainly proved a quick and easy process and meant we didn’t have to queue up at the cash register (the same process is available at the till if you’d rather). It also means that, in effect you can go shopping without your wallet.

Monetary payments with smartphones have been met with fears of security in the past; perhaps one of the reasons NFC has failed to take off. What if your phone was stolen? Would the thieving toe rag be able to go on a shopping spree at your expense?

Not so, according to John Lunn, EMEA Director of Innovation PayPal (UK) Limited:

“There’s no actual money sitting on the phone. Unlike NFC, PayPal’s InStore wallet sits securely in a cloud and on PayPal.”

There’s also a unique pin code that must be typed in each time you fire up the app. 

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Launching on 31 May, the PayPal InStore app will initially be able to be used only in four UK retailers -Oasis, Karen Millen, Coast and Warehouse - but with PayPal already “talking to pretty much everyone” that number is sure to grow.

As MClean signs off: “We’re expecting a big uptake from both consumers and retailers.”

The PayPal InStore app is available to download for free from both the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Will you be using the PayPal InStore app to shop? Let us know your thoughts.