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 keeps hat in the ring with new BlackBerry app

PayPal is extending its reach to all major mobile devices with its new app for BlackBerry smartphones, making it clear that it intends to remain a top mobile payment solution despite competition from Apple Pay and Google Wallet.

BlackBerry device owners in the United States, United Kingdom and Australia can now use the PayPal mobile application to receive and send money, check-in to pay at bricks-and-mortar retailers, manage account activity and redeem deals from local businesses. With the rise of other third-party mobile payment platforms such as Apple Pay and Google Wallet, PayPal is ramping up to mark its stake in the mcommerce sector and edge out competition.

“It is likely that the PayPal BlackBerry app has been in development for years, so I would not link the timing to the launch to anything of significance,” said Wilson Kerr, vice president of business development and sales at Unbound Commerce, Boston. “PayPal is the clear leader in the space because consumers trust them to store and distribute their linked credit card numbers and address data.

“For example, eBay functions as well as it does largely because PayPal acts as a trusted, secure brokerage channel between strangers buying and selling items across the world.”

Mr. Kerr is not affiliated with PayPal, but agreed to comment as an expert.

Reaching all platforms
PayPal, which already has its app available for Android and iOS devices, recently rolled out the application to Amazon’s Fire Phone, despite the smartphone’s struggling sales. Although users have not been raring to get their hands on Amazon’s attempt to foray into the consumer electronics market, eBay and StubHub were quick to create apps specifically for the Fire Phone, which likely influenced PayPal to follow along.

However, PayPal’s partnership with eBay may in fact be the reason that it continues to be a leader in the mobile payment sector.

“Friction reduction in the checkout flow is the single biggest reason PayPal shines so brightly in the mobile space,” Mr. Kerr said. “Smart retailers know that a very high percentage of mobile shopping carts are abandoned and this usually happens during the cumbersome data entry process.”

“IBM reported in 2014 that 72 percent of mobile commerce carts are abandoned specifically because of data entry friction at checkout.  Apple Pay is certainly a threat, but Apple is trying to crack the in-store nut, which is a far-harder row to hoe,” he said.

The PayPal app is also leveraging SMS by allowing users to check their PayPal balance by texting “bal” or “balance” to PAYPAL, which will link their phone number to their account.

The customer will then receive a text back from PayPal with the remaining account balance. Other SMS options include sending money by texting PAYPAL, specifying the amount and listing the recipient’s email address or phone number, requesting money from a person or texting for help from a PayPal representative.

BlackBerry resurfacing
While BlackBerry smartphones had a dormant several years, the brand is attempting to reinsert itself into mobile device market with the release of the BlackBerry Classic, which boasts a sleeker design with an improved Web browser.

The manufacturer is rolling out a slew of new features to attract consumers, such as BlackBerry Hub, which allows users to instantly manage all conversations and will curate a view of most important conversations based on previous interactions.

PayPal’s integration with BlackBerry will likely garner more app downloads if the phone manufacturer can retain consumer interest in its new devices. Ultimately, PayPal’s partnership with eBay lends it considerable credibility where users are concerned.

“PayPal is in a very strong position and will remain there, as long as they maintain the trust consumers put in them and deliver a service that speeds the mobile checkout process,” Mr. Kerr said.

“This benefits both the consumers who use PayPal and the retailers who chose to add PayPal Mobile Express Checkout to their mobile checkout flow.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York