Durango’s Mercury last week announced a partnership with e-commerce giant PayPal that will allow the local company’s base of more than 80,000 merchants to accept payments via PayPal in their brick-and-mortar stores and on their websites.
With the new capabilities, merchants will be able to accept customer payments via the newly released PayPal payment card or PayPal’s smartphone app right at their cash registers.
For Mercury, the deal allows the company to offer merchants a chance to integrate the next frontier of payment technology into their existing point-of-sale systems, said John Berkley, Mercury’s senior vice president of product.
“Mobile payments and smartphone capabilities in stores are becoming very, very real, and there’s a corner we’re about to turn,” Berkley said. “More and more merchants are saying to us, ‘We want to have these emerging payment capabilities in our store.’”
While customers believe smartphones are the way of the future for payments, few use the technology now. In a December poll, the New York-based research firm Harris Interactive found that two-thirds of people believe smartphones eventually will replace cash and credit cards for the majority of transactions, though only 4 percent had actually paid by smartphone at a physical store.
Mercury will develop a toolkit that will allow its more than 500 point-of-sale system developers to integrate PayPal’s online payment technology into their existing systems, Berkley said.
Just like online payments, PayPal’s in-store system allows customers to choose where their purchase is coming from – whether it be a credit card, debit card or bank account. And like a credit card, merchants will be charged a fee based on the dollar amount of the transaction. Mercury and PayPal will each get a cut of that fee.
PayPal sees the Mercury partnership as a way to expand its presence to brick-and-mortar stores, according to a statement made by Don Kingsborough, PayPal’s vice president of retail, in a news release. PayPal officials did not return requests for direct comment. The fact that more than 90 percent of the businesses Mercury works with are physical businesses makes the company an ideal avenue for PayPal to push its technology into the offline world, Berkley said. Already, PayPal has expanded its in-store payment system to more than 18,000 stores nationwide, according to a March article in The Boston Globe.
The 245 businesses Mercury works with in Durango will be some of the first to test PayPal’s payment systems, Berkley said. The company will slowly expand the program to other markets through the first half of next year, he said.
Jack Llewellyn, executive director of the Durango Chamber of Commerce, said the deal should benefit Durango’s businesses.
“I know that the strength of PayPal and what they have done for industry combined with Mercury looks like it can only be an enhancement for any retailer,” Llewellyn said.