PayPal hopes new smartphone app will replace wallet

May 21, 2013 7:46:55 PM PDT
San Jose-based PayPal is betting on a future when no one has to carry a wallet to the mall or to restaurants. That future is starting to roll out in the Bay Area.

A wallet is seemingly indispensable when we go shopping or eat out. However, a PayPal survey of 5,000 consumers worldwide found that 83 percent would like to do away with them.

So after 14 years of offering an online payment system, PayPal is going after the brick and mortar shopper with a smartphone app that lets you order and pay, no wallet necessary.

For some, it could be a tough transition.

"I'm old school; I just need the security of having your wallet and your purse," Hayward resident Kim Carter said.

PayPal hopes to get consumers on board by offering convenience and speed. A busy mom can order merchandise and pre-pay for faster in-store pickup. Or a sports fan can order and pre-pay for a bag of popcorn to be delivered to his seat at the game. And a quick lunch can be quicker if you don't have to wait for the check.

"When you're done with your meal, you can check out and add a tip and leave, and that saves precious time again," PayPal President David Marcus said. "So we're going to bring to market all kinds of these types of experiences that are really, really meaningfully better than what customers experience today."

Jamba Juice started testing the system last year, allowing customers to pre-order and pay for a drink. It's now going to roll out the PayPal system nationally. Many other retailers, both small and large, are also jumping on board.

And soon, PayPal expects the next generation of smartphones will have built-in biometrics, allowing payment by pressing your finger on the screen.

By the end of the year, PayPal hopes to have an estimated two million merchants around the country who will be accepting the new payment system.

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