Scan PayPal QR Code

PayPal Contactless QR Codes

Narrative IndustriesThoughts

PayPal have launched an update that enables people to pay using contactless payments via PayPal QR Code. Customers can safely pay for products or services through the PayPal app on their Smartphones, touch-free, by scanning a QR code linked to the seller’s PayPal account.

PayPal has had a form of QR Code payments for some time, but it was complicated. The updated PayPal QR Code Payments enable customers to pay by scanning a QR Code – a special kind of image – entering the amount and then approving the payment using the PayPal app on their smartphone.

The main benefits to sellers are that they don’t need a contactless card reader, nor a merchant account with the bank. For those sellers with a contactless device already, PayPal QR Codes allow you take payments that are greater than the £45 (previously £30) limit on traditional contactless card readers, without the need for the customer touch the keypad on a Chip & Pin machine.

While Narrative is a primarily a Web Agency,  we are involved with the digital transformation of our clients, and this PayPal update represents an opportunity to take advantage of this evolving technology. We see immediate opportunities for local businesses making deliveries or offering pickups/takeaways, for example.

PayPal QR Code Payments remove a barrier for small & micro-businesses, and helps established businesses by providing an additional alternative way to safely take payments.

Here’s what small businesses and independent traders need to know about PayPal QR Code Payments:

During the pandemic there has been a behaviour change, with customers preferring to use contactless payments over a Chip and Pin keypad. This is because people are more wary about the cleanliness of a keypad that hundreds of people may have touched before them. Customers will even spend less, to ensure they stay within the £45 limit of contactless payments (older devices may still be restricted to £30).

PayPal QR codes provide a different form of contactless payment that is not subject to that £45 limit. They are simple to use (providing the customer has a recent version of the PayPal app installed) and convenient for the customer.

What is a PayPal QR Code?

QR Codes have been around for a long time, and are a way to store small amounts of data in an image, similar to a barcode but more flexible. They are used for a wide variety of purposes and you may have seen them on packages delivered to your door. The one at the top of this page will, if scanned, open a link to our website in a browser, but it could just as easily store contact details so you could add them to your phone’s address book, or wifi login details.

The PayPal QR Code uses that image format to store a reference to the seller’s PayPal account.

When a customer scans the PayPal QR Code, it tells the app where to send the money (but not how much). The customer is then asked to enter the amount and approve the payment.

Sellers can print out and display their PayPal QR Code, or show it to a customer on a screen to scan.

There is no data in the PayPal QR Code that could compromise your PayPal account – it’s just a unique ID associated with your account and perfectly safe.

How much does it cost?

PayPal is not the cheapest way to take payments, but it is very convenient and customers who use PayPal already like it because they aren’t giving you any details at all. There are transaction fees associated with taking PayPal QR Code Payments but, PayPal is waiving its standard seller transaction fees on QR Code payments until September 2020. Usually it’s 1.9% + about 10p per transaction. The transaction fee is paid by the seller, and it is free for the customer. You can get more info on PayPal’s merchant fees here

How do I generate a PayPal QR Code?

Each QR code is specific to each PayPal account, so you have to be logged in to create yours. The safest way to do that is via the PayPal app on your smartphone or tablet.

Make sure you have the latest version of the app, then login to it. Then tap the icon in the bottom right of the screen  that says “more”. That will open a menu.

How to create PayPal QR Code Step 1

In the menu that has appeared, select “Get paid with QR Codes” and follow the on screen instructions. That will generate an image with the QR Code that is specific to your PayPal account. You can do it more than once, and they will always be the same because they are linked to that PayPal account.

How to create PayPal QR Code Step 2




Next, just save the image to your photo library – You could just show that image to the customer to scan, but a print out by your checkout would be easier, and looks more trustworthy & professional.

Another way to generate a PayPal QR Code is via a browser on your computer. You will need to be logged in to your PayPal account but you can view the page to generate your QR Code without being logged in here.  You should always be suspicious of links to payment systems, so you may prefer to google “generate PayPal QR Code” instead, and make your own way there, so you can check the URL is actually on, and follow the instructions from there.

How to pay using PayPal QR Code Payments.

The customer has to have the latest version of the PayPal app on their smartphone to pay via PayPal QR Code. Then, all they need to do is open the app and they should see a little icon that looks like this:

How to accept payment via PayPal QR Code


They customer just needs to tap that and scan your PayPal QR Code using their smartphone camera. Once scanned, a box will appear asking them to enter the amount and approve the payment.

You should receive an email notification (or in your own PayPal app) confirming the payment.

If they can’t see that icon, they may need to click the “more” icon in the bottom right, and select it there (or update their app). This is new now so some customers may have not the feature yet but, fairly quickly, more & more people will have Paypal apps that are compatible so it will pay to be prepared.