ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Industry Dive acquired Mobile Commerce Daily in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates, may not have migrated over. Check out our topic page for the latest mobile commerce news.

PayPal courts shoppers with offers, instant credit in revamped app

PayPal has launched a significant revamp of its mobile application for iPhone and Android that features a stronger focus on consumer-friendly features such as mobile offers, order-ahead capabilities at thousands of locations and the ability to finance purchases.

With more and more consumers turning to mobile phones to shop and make purchases, the PayPal app was redesigned to make it easier for users to pay for purchases in stores and restaurants. The new app also features $100 in offers from local U.S. business that can be saved to users’ PayPal wallet and automatically redeemed at checkout.

“This is the first time we are really going front and center to consumers with a lot of the things that we’ve been talking about on more of the merchant side,” said Anuj Nayar, senior director of communications at PayPal, San Jose, CA. “It is the other half of the same coin.

“The app is now our first real move to get consumers excited about being able to shop directly at all of these literally thousands of stores around the U.S. where you can pay with PayPal, and incentivizing that with things like offers, order ahead,” he said.

“Because consumers aren’t looking for a new way to pay in store. They are looking to save time and money, and that is what we think is front and center in this new app.”

In-store enhancements
When users open the app, the first page they see is the new Shop page, which automatically shows every local retailer that takes PayPal. If a retailer has an offer, it will appear here as well.

From the Shop section, users can also check in at participating locations to pay for purchases, pay at the table in participating restaurants and order ahead.

The order ahead functionality has been available in a few locations prior to the revamp, such as Jamba Juice. With this week’s update, users can now order ahead at more than a thousand restaurants and cafes via an integration with Eat24.

The pay-at-the-table functionality is the result of an integration with NCR. It is currently only available in a few locations in New York and San Francisco, but PayPal expects it to grow quickly.

Users can also easily switch between payment methods from the check in screen.

The list of retailers accepting PayPal now includes thousands of restaurants, cafes, clothing stores and other retail locations in the United States, Britain, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and Canada. Additionally, 23 national retailers such as Home Depot, Jamba Juice and Guitar Center also accept PayPal payments.

Line of credit
When paying, for the first time users will now be able to choose Bill Me Later as a payment option to quickly get a line of credit and pay for purchases over a period of time.

“For the first time, in the app that launched today, credit is built directly into the app,” Mr. Nayar said. “You can apply for a line of credit from the mobile app and it is not like a three day process, we will basically give you a decision and a line of credit while you are still in that app in a matter of a minute.

“That we think is unique,” he said. “We haven’t seen anybody doing anything around building credit directly into a mobile payment app.”

Last year, PayPal eliminated the minimum payment volume for a merchant to be eligible to offer credit –previously the minimum payment volume was $20 million – meaning that a lot of online merchants who previously could not offer this credit option now can.

Payments not the problem
The Wallet section of the app enables users to manage their PayPal balance on the go, securely store debit and credit cards as well as bank account information as well as add new payment methods.

In the Activity section, users can stay on top of all of their latest transactions.

In the Transfer section, users can send money by typing in a friends mobile or email number and adding a dollar amount.

In the Settings section, users can change their PIN and manage their preferences.

“Our research is showing, and this is what we’ve been saying for a while, the problem that needs to be solved in stores is not necessarily a payments problem,” Mr. Nayar said. “There are a couple of very effective tools to pay right now.

“But the idea to order my lunch ahead of time and just walk in and collect it, and skip the line that builds up at 12:30, that is a huge benefit that is built directly into this app,” he said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York