PayPal (PYPL -2.07%) announced on Tuesday that it has rolled out QR codes within the PayPal app in 28 markets around the world, permitting buy or sell transactions "in a health-conscious, safe, and secure way," thereby helping both merchants and customers adhere to social-distancing guidelines. John Kunze, senior vice president of branded experiences, acknowledged that the company has experienced a surge in demand for digital payments that included "new and safe solutions for in-person environments and situations." 

"Our rollout of QR codes for buyers and sellers incorporates the safety, security, and convenience of using PayPal in person and enables ongoing social distancing requirements and safety preferences for in-person commerce," Kunze said. 

Hand holding a smartphone scanning a QR code.

Image source: Getty Images.

In its simplest form, the way a QR code works is similar to a barcode in a supermarket. The pattern on each QR code is unique, representing a specific merchant. Using an app designed to read QR codes, a user can make a payment without handing over a credit card, thereby facilitating a touch-free payment.

Using the PayPal app, customers can simply click "send," and tap the QR Code symbol in top right corner of the app. Then, they simply point their smartphone camera at the merchant's QR code and click, which takes users directly to a portal to check out, where they can follow prompts to complete the transaction.

This process allows sellers to minimize physical interactions with customers, while also limiting the amount of customer interaction during checkout.

This functionality is now available in 28 markets around the globe, including the U.S., the United Kingdom, and many countries in Europe, among others.