CVS Is the First National Retailer to Accept PayPal and Venmo

QR codes allow in-store shoppers to pay touch-free

QR codes are becoming a popular payment method. CVS, PayPal

Key Insight:

The onset of the pandemic kickstarted creativity for safer, socially distanced shopping experiences, with companies big and small expanding their ecommerce, curbside pickup, contactless delivery and alternative payment options.

CVS Pharmacy is the first national retailer to offer the ability to pay via Venmo and PayPal in stores. To use the services, customers will be able to scan a QR code and pay from their phones, completing purchases without ever touching a pen or keypad. It will be available in all U.S. locations beginning this fall.

PayPal, Venmo’s parent company, is ensuring the security of payments through a partnership with global technology solutions company Incomm.

“Companies of all types and sizes are looking for ways to maintain the safety of their customers and employees,” said Mark Britto, evp and chief product officer of PayPal, in a statement. “QR codes complement these and provide retailers an additional payment method that furthers this touch-free mission.”

While this new service expands Venmo’s use to a national retailer, the online payment service has already been widely utilized by small businesses through personal profiles for years—even more since the pandemic began. This is now supplemented by new business profiles, which give companies their own page within the app (they are currently invite-only).

By tapping into the large market of sole proprietors, which account for 75% of small businesses, and larger brands starting with CVS, Venmo is spreading from its core of person-to-person and small business payments into both ecommerce and in-store shopping.

Other large brands have released their own QR code payment options over the last few months. Walmart Pay just launched a similar service to PayPal’s. Apple Pay is rumored to be launching QR code payments soon with iOS 14. And Amazon Pay has been using it for years, originally to let shoppers pay through their accounts in-store.

Kaila is a graduating senior at Villanova University pursuing a degree in PR & Advertising and Journalism. She is currently working as the Social Media Manager for CLLCTVE, and covers brand marketing and retail stories as a contributor for Adweek.