PayPal and MyCheck are going to New York's theater district to set the stage for mobile payments.

The companies are targeting restaurants with MyCheck’s pay-at-the-table technology, which has been a game changer in New York, says Craig Olson, sales leader and market development manager at PayPal.

Restaurants in the theater district, where people are dining under a time crunch because they often need to pay and leave fast enough to catch a Broadway show, are a prime target for pay-at-the-table apps,  Olson said during a lunch meeting with reporters on Nov. 19.

PayPal is also working with NCR and a few other point of sale providers to allow pay-at-the-table transactions within its app, Olson says. “But MyCheck has seemed to leapfrog past the rest, creating a middleware solution that’s bridging the interface between us and the point of sale providers,” he says.

MyCheck’s app allows consumers to pay their bill with a smartphone instead of waiting for servers to bring the check. The app also allows merchants to integrate their loyalty programs and offer discounts to consumers. 

MyCheck is also designed to integrate directly into merchants’ existing point of sale hardware. MyCheck says it has picked up many merchants in New York since its launch, although the company wouldn’t disclose actual numbers.

While its initial targets were restaurants and bars, MyCheck has begun deploying its technology at hair and nail salons as well, says Tal Nathanel, MyCheck's cofounder and CEO of the Americas. Nail salons have an especially interesting value proposition since at the end of a manicure customers won’t be able to dig around in their purses or wallets to find cards, he says.

In New York and other PayPal test markets—including Austin and San Francisco—quick-serve merchants, coffee shops and retailers without sophisticated point of sale terminals are the likeliest to use PayPal’s payment methods, Olson says.

PayPal has been doing a lot of work recently to expand its market reach, including entering an $800 million deal to acquire Braintree, a Chicago-based payment processor, and partnering with Uber and McDonald’s to allow in-app payments. In September, PayPal unveiled PayPal Beacon, a plug-in device that uses Bluetooth Low Energy signals to let the PayPal app automatically check in at a store when a shopper visits.

PayPal has picked up hundreds merchants in New York in the past three months, Olson says. “We’re not so focused on numbers but more where we can drive a memorable experience,” he says.

Overall, PayPal is focused on answering, “What does it take to get someone in a habit?” he says. 

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