PAYPAL has launched a new phone-to-phone contactless payment service to help people who are now too scared to use cash.
Fears that notes and coins could aid the spread of Covid-19 has dramatically cut their usage.
But this has created issues for small businesses including builders, cleaners, taxi drivers, smaller coffee shops and market stalls.
Many don’t have card readers, or want to carry them around and prefer to be paid there and then rather than by bank transfer.
Now PayPal has made use of QR codes — the square-shaped barcodes that can be read by smartphone cameras.
It says this lets people pay or be paid contactlessly — and means there is no need to handle cash, credit cards or remember a PIN.
Firms set up their own QR code for customers.
A window cleaner might print one out and carry it around or a coffee shop might laminate them and place them by the till.
The customer, who will also need a PayPal account, aims their smartphone camera at the code — and it automatically opens the app and shows the account to pay.
Some with older phones will need to open the app first and then point their camera at it.
Lisa Scott, from PayPal, said: “Covid-19 has changed the shopping experience in the UK as we know it.
“The need for security and convenience is there, as always, but we now need to be able to sell and buy in a way that is quick, safe and involves limited social contact.
“Digital payments, and this QR code functionality, provides people and small businesses in the UK with the means to pay and get paid during the crisis and hopefully thrive in the future.”