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Planning a night on the town? We’ve all heard tales that the wallet would be electronic in the future, but we never imagined that the future would already be here.

Available on mobile devices, we’ve been giving PayPal’s digital wallet app a physical flogging as we head to various venues and order food and drinks.

The idea is simple: use your PayPal account which is already linked up to a commonly used credit or debit card to pay for goods and services.

You don’t need to bring a physical card with you either, as your phone will take care of it for you, relying on your name and photo, which are attached to the app and transmitted to the merchant, to be confirmed when paying for goods.

The app will take advantage of your location and look for places around you that are connected with the PayPal point-of-sale program, and when you go to one of these places, you merely have to check in using the app in order to buy things from the service.

Forget lining up: you can sit down, make your selection, pay, and pick up your order, with the restaurant or cafe checking on the digital system to see if you are who you say you are.

We’ve tried it ourselves with at least one bar and one coffee house, but PayPal tells us that currently over 2000 locations across Australia are using the system, with restaurants, cafes, and bars all taking advantage of the digital payment system.

Check in, order, and then verify your identity with a name and photo. Simple.

“Mobile has driven dramatic shifts in the path to purchase, providing Australian retailers with more opportunities to interact with their customers and engage with them at a number of touch points beyond the traditional storefront,” said Jeff Clementz, Managing Director at PayPal Australia.

“Over the last year, PayPal has been collaborating with hospitality and POS companies to provide more flexible and secure payment options for Australian consumers, making it easier than ever to pay how they want, when they want.”

The system is also being used by Beat The Q, a coffee ordering system we’ve covered on GadgetGuy in the past, which makes it possible to order coffee ahead of time and pick it up without lining up, an effective way to save time in the morning.

Another possible use that we saw demoed was paying the bill at a restaurant, which could be handled from the table with a mobile phone. The system isn’t entirely setup for this yet, though one of the PayPal representatives we spoke to suggested that this sort of payment system wouldn’t be far off, and that a crew of developers had built a basic version of this for our preview.

We’re quite intrigued with the idea of buying things ahead of time and picking them up without the line, and based on what we’ve experienced with Beat The Q and our local coffee house, look forward to seeing this idea rolled out in more places in the near future.

Currently, the PayPal app is available on iOS and Android only through their respective app stores, though a Windows Phone version is coming.

Our play with the Android version revealed a few slowdowns and bugs, but it wasn’t anything too problematic, and with fixes on the way for soon, will certainly make ordering an interesting experience.