It was only yesterday I asked the question “How long will it before before you can pay for your weekly shopping in Tesco with your smartphone?“. What I actually meant was how long would it be before you can pay with PayPal. Whilst you can’t pay with an online method, PayPal have just sent out their new Mastercards to selected users enabling them to pay with PayPal practically anywhere.
Issued by PrePay Technologies, the card known as the PayPal Access Card lets you use your PayPal account on the high street. You can withdraw cash or shop anywhere MasterCard is accepted, using the money in your PayPal account – no more bank transfers before you can spend your funds.
TameBay reader Board_Surfer was one of the first to receive their cards and gave us the low down on how they work. The biggest change from the PayPal Topup Cards (which were cancelled in April) is that you don’t need to top up your PayPal Access Card, it withdraws funds directly from your PayPal account.
PayPal Access Cards are MasterCard instead of Visa and include the new PayPass technology, which allows you to make instant ‘tap and go’ payments of up to £15 without entering your PIN. A tiny microchip and radio antenna embedded in the PayPass-enabled PayPal Access Card transmits your payment details wirelessly to a high-speed PayPass reader at checkout.
This is the first time in the UK that PayPal users have been able to spend funds directly accessed from their PayPal account on the high street. The technology automatically tracks your PayPal balance and allows you to spend whatever funds are in your PayPal balance. As soon as a payment arrives from a buyer the funds are available through your PayPal Access Card to spend in Tesco (Or, in the screen shot we’ve obtained, in CO-OP).
This might not be quite as elegant a solution as paying with PayPal via a smartphone in Pizza Express, but it does give access to your PayPal funds to spend at any high street retailer or business worldwide that accepts MasterCard.
The cards have no annual fee and no transaction fee, although there are additional costs for cash withdrawals and a few other services such as using your card abroad. Sadly though the PayPal Access Card is currently only available by invitation which selected PayPal customers will receive via email.