PayPal is announcing a major update to its iOS and Android apps today, creating a more seamless experience when paying for items in stores and retail outlets. Check out our video above for an in-depth demo of the app being used by myself and PayPal VP of Global Product Hill Ferguson in San Francisco.
Beyond just the features, the app has been redesigned to make it easier to pay using various stored accounts at different stores (ie bank accounts and credit cards). The PayPal app also has a new tab called ‘Shop', which you can use to find shops or restaurants nearby that accept PayPal payments. 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. After you've paid, you'll see a confirmation alert and a PayPal email receipt.
One of the major feature additions to the apps is the ability to order ahead at a broader group of restaurants. PayPal was testing this feature at McDonald's in France and earlier this year at select US Jamba Juice locations.
By checking in on the PayPal app, you can access the restaurants where you can use the order ahead feature, and the app will take you to the full menu, and specify and special adjustments to the food/drinks. Once you click order, you can then bypass the line at local restaurants and cafes. PayPal says that currently the feature is turned on for around one thousand restaurants and cafes (via an Eat24 partnership), with more locations coming soon.
Another new feature added in this release is the ability to pat at the table at some restaurants and apps. You can check-in the restaurant to view your bill, give a tip and pay your restaurant bill through the PayPal app. On the restaurant's side, their POS terminal is connected to PayPal so they can see when someone checks in, and can allow the customer to access their bill via the app. You can even order another drink from the app at some locations.
For the first time, you can apply to finance your PayPal purchases from inside the app by selecting the Bill Me Later option. And lastly, PayPal will be integrating coupons and offers into the app, so these will be automatically populated into your account and you'll have the option to use any offers at stores in the checkout process. Starting today, $100 in offers is available in the PayPal app from local US businesses.
It's clear in this update that PayPal is putting more emphasis on how its app can be used in physical retailers. The payments giant is also using a more seamless payments experience to actually help save people time (avoiding lines, waiting for your waiter to return with your bill). One of the hurdles for PayPal has been how to get the 100 million-plus consumers to know that they can use PayPal in physical stores (as well as online, which has been the primary experience to date). Ferguson tells us that the company is definitely working to educate the public, with restaurants posting “PayPal accepted” signs in their storefronts and more. It wouldn't be surprising that with this big expansion, PayPal embarks on a major marketing push around in-store use.