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PayPal partner Vend not taking sides in mobile payments tech debate

Vend CEO Vaughan Rowsell said his company will remain "payments agnostic" even while partner PayPal has condemned near field communications (NFC).

Vend, maker of cloud-based software for point-of-sale terminals, this week announced the opening of its first Australian office in Melbourne, with plans to hire 10 new staff this year. The company also has offices in Auckland and San Francisco.

With the opening of the Melbourne office, Vend plans to add more partners in Australia, including retailers, third-party developers and banks and payment companies, Vend CEO Vaughan Rowsell told Computerworld Australia.

Vend has retailer customers in about 100 countries. With about 9000 installations, Australia accounts for 30 per cent of the global customer base. Opening an office in Melbourne puts Vend closer to those customers, as well as PayPal, a significant business partner, Rowsell said.

Vend's payment software supports PayPal's mobile app for in-store payments, which lets customers pay by checking in at a store.

However, while PayPal president David Marcus has condemned rival NFC-based payments, Rowsell said that Vend is "completely payments agnostic".

The cloud-based nature of Vend's software "means that we can integrate with an array of new payment types as well as the traditional stuff".

Rowsell said he's not ready to declare one mobile payments technology victorious.

"We don't think the boat has sailed," he said. PayPal check-in can help retailers build relationships with customers, but NFC has the advantage of already being installed in many cards and existing terminals, he said.

"Retailers have never had the problem of taking payment from customers," he said. "The big problem is how do retailers get more customers and create stronger relationships with the customers that they do have."

Rowsell added that it's "still early days" for mobile payments. "It's by no means having wide user adoption."

The Vend CEO predicted consumer demand will drive adoption of mobile payment technologies. However, more retailers need to provide the option in stores, he said.

Follow Adam Bender on Twitter: @WatchAdam

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia

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