NFC Payments Coming to McDonald’s

McDonalds-NFC-payment-PayPal-rfid-blogSince the potential of NFC mobile payments is so attractive, the mobile payment war is heating up. Companies are racing to become the default mobile payment platform at your favorite fast food franchise.

According to a new report, McDonald’s is currently testing a mobile payment deployment with PayPal, at its 30 locations in France. The sites are already wired for NFC, and therefore already accept tap-to pay for hamburgers.

Although neither company has made any official announcement, the technology is “coming within the next 24 months or so,” according to a McDonald’s spokesperson.

This system is different from PayPal’s two existing in-store payment systems. The French trial features a smartphone app or a website from which customers can order and pay for food with their PayPal account, using their NFC-enabled smartphones. The customer can then pick up the food in a separate line, bypassing the normal ordering process.

To PayPal, it is a significant deal. Bagging Starbucks is a big win for Square, bagging McDonalds would be an even-bigger win for PayPal, as with over 30,000 restaurants worldwide, McDonald’s potential deal with the payments company would represent a larger business and cultural footprint for PayPal than perhaps any other mobile payments company in operation.

PayPal’s pay-with-an-app payment system in France will directly compete with the Pay with Square system. Some may wonder why PayPal — a company that tends to hold its plans very close to the vest — let news about the small trial in France leak to the press. Well, maybe PayPal wants the marketplace to be aware that it is working in this area, too.