PayPal OneTouch provides further fillip to mobile shopping

POSTED BY Windsor Holden

Shopping via a mobile device is about to get that little bit easier.

Earlier this week, PayPal unveiled an app payment feature, currently in beta, which enables uses to pay via a single touch to the handset screen. The feature – called, funnily enough, OneTouch – has been enabled using technology from Braintree, which parent company eBay acquired in September 2013 for around $800 million.

The feature will also be integrated into mobile apps which support PayPal. In the first instance that the consumer makes a payment for a product using one of these apps, he or she will be redirected to the PayPal app for authorization. For subsequent purchases, the one touch feature kicks in and purchases can be made within the merchant app.

PayPal is already one of the behemoths of mobile payments: in 2013, it was responsible for around $27 billion in mobile and tablet transactions, representing 15% of global payments by transaction value, and the introduction of this feature on a commercial basis is likely to give those volumes a further boost.

Furthermore, not content with being a big fish in the online payments space, PayPal has moved into a new aquarium: this week, PayPal updated its Windows Phone app to enable in-store payments, to accompany the iOS and Android apps which have had this facility since 2012. Last autumn, it also unveiled an in-store payment mechanism, enabled by a combination of BLE and Wi-Fi. The PayPal Beacon runs on its own Wi-Fi and plugs into an outlet at a retailer with a compatible POS system (such systems currently include Erply, Leaf, Leapset, Micros, NCR, ShopKeep and Vend). When a consumer who (a) has the PayPal app and (b) has opted in to the ability for retailers to use Beacon enters a store, the technology triggers a vibration or sound to denote a successful check-in; the handset owner’s photograph appears on the screen of the merchant POS system so that the customer can be greeted by name.

PayPal have said that if a consumer enters a store and either does not wish to check in or ignores the check in request, no information will be transmitted. The customer set up preferences as to where they can be automatically checked in and then automatically charged when collecting goods or when they leave; payment requires only a verbal confirmation.

In short, PayPal continues to be a very busy bee across remote and in-store payments. Its competitors will have to up their games to keep up.