Carrefour, BNP Paribas team up for QR code payment app

Dive Brief:

  • Carrefour, the French operator of about 11,900 stores in more than 30 countries, and Parisian bank BNP Paribas teamed up to create a QR code-based mobile payment application. The new app lets customers make in-store, online and peer-to-peer payments, and it also handles store loyalty cards, coupons and special offers, a Mastercard press release stated.
  • The service, branded as Lyf Pay, is the result of combining two competing systems. Carrefour and BNP Paribas backed the Wa! mobile payment system while Crédit Mutuel, Auchan, Mastercard, Oney and Total were behind the Fivory brand of e-wallet. The groups announced plans to create a unified system in October.
  • Development of the Lyf Pay app follows Apple Pay’s entry into France last summer, the first time the computing giant expanded into a major country on the European mainland, according to Fortune magazine.

Dive Insight:

Mobile payments will get much-needed support in France as its biggest hypermarket chain combines forces with other retailers and banks to create a unified system. While French smartphone users are comfortable using mobile technology in stores to find deals and compare prices, the adoption of payment systems has lagged, according to a study last year by CCM Benchmark. Mobile payment adoption is also lagging in the U.S. 

A mere 7% of French smartphone owners used their device to pay in a store, but some indicated a willingness to test it out, according to the study. About 27% of survey respondents said they felt ready to try mobile payments, while 56% said they weren’t ready. 

The adoption of a QR code-based payment system echoes the mobile payments platforms of Starbucks, Wal-Mart and other merchants, who are looking to streamline the in-store experience for as wide an audience as possible — which is difficult with Apple Pay and Android Pay as they are only available to each platform's customers — while gaining valuable insight into customer behavior. 

Carrefour's and BNP Paribas' efforts merge their respective expertise, and the new app streamlines users' coupons and loyalty rewards to remove friction for customers both online and in stores. The unified app has a one-click feature similar to Amazon's, which highlights the industry's push to offer simplicity in purchasing.

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