Online payments processor PayPal is making some aggressive moves on the mobile wallet front with a redesigned app that offers discounts on merchandise and a credit line. Can the company take mobile spending mainstream?
Like Square and Google Wallet, PayPal is trying to tap into the long prophesied mobile payments revolution. Or, better put, it is trying to push the prophesy into reality. According to Juniper Research, nearly 400 million consumers are using their mobile phones to make purchases. But that number is still in the minority.
"With the new design of the app, we've made it easier than ever for our customers to pay when they're in-store and send money to friends," said Hill Ferguson, vice president of Global Product at PayPal. "We have made it even easier to pay using your bank account in one store and your credit card at the next place. In this release, you can even open a line of credit in the app using Bill Me Later."
Save Time and Money
By moving to improve the in-store shopping experience, PayPal hopes to hasten adoption. The new app, for example, has a tab called "Shop" that lets you find shops or restaurants nearby that accept PayPal payments. Thousands of restaurants, cafes, clothing stores and other retail locations in the U.S., U.K., Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and Canada now allow shoppers to pay using just their mobile phones.
"You can then 'check in' and open a tab with just a swipe. You can change how you want to pay right on the 'check in' screen, meaning you've really got access to your entire wallet in the app," Ferguson explained. "After you've paid, you'll see a confirmation alert and our usual PayPal email receipt."
Here's another perk: By checking in on the PayPal app, you can order ahead and bypass the lines at local restaurants and cafes. More than 1,000 Eat24 locations are taking PayPal mobile payments at launch. On the back end, you don't have to wait for the server to bring the bill. You can check-in to view your bill, give a tip and pay your bill through the PayPal app. You can even order another drink from the app at some locations.
"Instead of thinking about that stack of paper coupons in your desk drawer at home, the new app has the offer waiting in your wallet the second you stepped into the store," Ferguson said. "Starting today, $100 in offers is available in your PayPal app from local U.S. businesses. You can save the offers to your PayPal wallet and they are automatically redeemed at checkout."
PayPal More Trusted?
We caught up with Rob Enderle, principal analyst at The Enderle Group, to get his thoughts on the new app, which competes with efforts of Google and Amazon. He told us thousands of PayPal users are probably more than happy to convert their online purchase behaviors to brick-and-mortar purchase behaviors.
"Unlike Amazon, PayPal is not a retailer that's competing with vendors. And everybody is so worried about their privacy with Google that I wonder how much they are going to trust Google as their banking entity," Enderle said.
"It's one thing to have Google monitoring your Gmail and your social content. It's quite something else to have them monitoring your purchasing directly. So I think PayPal should be more trusted by retailers than Amazon is and more trusted by users than Google is," he added. "This is a nice play by them."