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Fries from your phone: McDonald's testing mobile payment app

An employee displays the McBaguette, a burger-filled sandwich tested earlier this year at McDonald's restaurants in France.

Story highlights

  • McDonald's is testing a mobile-payment app in France
  • Customers can pay via PayPal and pick up the food at a special line
  • The system could spread to the chain's 33,500 restaurants
  • The move is part of a growing cashless mobile-payment trend

As noted philosopher Vincent Vega said in "Pulp Fiction," the French may not know what a Quarter Pounder is.

But McDonald's customers in Paris can now pay for a Royale with Cheese using their smartphones or tablets -- a concept that could spread to the company's 33,500 locations worldwide if the fast-food leader likes the results.

Customers at 30 locations in France are now able to order their meals using the McDonald's mobile app, pay for it via PayPal, then join a separate line to pick up their food, according to a Reuters report.

The trial is part of a rapidly growing consumer-service trend of skipping cash, and even credit cards, in favor of a quick tap from a mobile phone.

Major retailers from Target to Best Buy to 7-Eleven have teamed up to create the Merchant Customer Exchange. The group is developing a mobile app that would allow customers to pay for goods at participating stores' registers with their smartphones. The app will also give users exclusive coupons and deals.

Square, a mobile app and phone attachment created by one of the founders of Twitter, is gaining traction as a tool for small businesses to accept credit-card payments and this month signed a deal with Starbucks for the coffee behemoth to begin accepting payments through the app.

And Google Wallet aims to be no less than a single tool that turns your phone into your wallet, driver's license and house key.

PayPal, long a leader in Web transactions, is fighting to stay in the forefront of the mobile-payment game. In addition to the McDonald's deal, PayPal has signed up with such retailers as Home Depot.

McDonald's showcased an even more in-depth mobile payment app earlier this year at a conference in Orlando, Reuters reports.