Virtual Payments in the Real World of Big Macs (MCD, EBAY, SBUX, HD, ODP, JCP, ANF, PAY)

The world's largest restaurant chain, McDonald's Corp. (NYSE: MCD) has confirmed that it is testing mobile payments at 30 of its stores in France. McDonald's has about 30,000 stores all around the world, and if the mobile payments test is a success, the service could roll out in the next two years or so.

The big winner? PayPal, a division of eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY), which is chasing mobile payment deals with a number of big retailers, including McDonald's. Startup competitor Square Inc. last week signed a deal with Starbucks Corp. (NASDAQ: SBUX) to offer mobile payments at its nearly 20,000 stores worldwide.

PayPal has announced mobile payment deals with The Home Depot Inc. (NYSE: HD), Office Depot Inc. (NYSE: ODP), J.C. Penney Co. Inc. (NYSE: JCP) and Abercrombie & Fitch Co. (NYSE: ANF), among other big retailers.

But PayPal's biggest win may be a deal with Verifone Systems Inc. (NYSE: PAY), which claims a customer base of 80% of the 200 largest retailers in the United States.

So far all of this remains in the testing stages. But over the next year or two, payments by mobile phone are going to be introduced and the next thing you know, we'll all be cutting up our credit cards. Perhaps then retailers will not be so antagonistic to smartphones that can scan UPC codes and show comparative pricing, because stores will have some leverage against rising credit card charges.

Paul Ausick

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Banking, Consumer Electronics, Telecom & Wireless Tagged: ANF, EBAY, HD, JCP, MCD, ODP, PAY, SBUX