PayPal has released the newest update to its mobile app in a move that caters to the growing number of consumers who want access to proximity payments — the ability to buy items in physical locations directly via smartphones. The new app is a complete overhaul of earlier versions and is available for both iOS and Android.
In this fresh incarnation of the app, the aptly called “Shop” tab allows users to search for nearby restaurants and shops that accept PayPal and then “check in” from the app, where they also can pay. The “Shop” tab offers access to other bank accounts, as well. A related new feature is “Order Ahead,” which makes it possible to pre-order from participating restaurants and in turn bypass the queue.
PayPal recognizes the strong consumer desire for easier mobile payments. According to research from Juniper, some 400 million consumers regularly make payments on mobile phones. But at this point, the number of brick-and-mortar businesses able to accept payments directly from mobile phones is limited. While the company points out that “thousands of restaurants, cafes, clothing stores and other retail locations” around the world accept payments over mobile phones, its aim is to grow that number.
The new app is also designed to take advantage of other features of mobile wallets, specifically digital coupons and offers. A recent report from Vibes states that 85 percent of consumers say they would benefit from the non-payment features. Apple released its similar Passbook in September of last year, and Google’s version, Wallet Objects, is set to debut this fall.
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