At its second developersconference, PayPal announced a slew of capabilities and newapplications that embed PayPal deeper into the retailer paymentsconsciousness. A two-click Mobile Express Checkout is nowavailable. The highly successful Starbucks mobile app will soon letusers reload their closed loop Starbucks card accounts via thePayPal Mobile Express Checkout. Other items include a mobileapplication development system for PayPal merchants to generatemobile commerce apps for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry. EvenVeriFone is involved with new support for PayPal within its PAYWaregateway.
In case you missed it, PayPal isnow the fifth US payment network after Visa, MasterCard, Discover,and AMEX. By occupying the smartphone high ground so effectively sofast, PayPal is taking a first position in mobile payments.Smartphone owners (the critical 18-34 year old set) and theretailers who want to serve this higher spending crowd, willencounter PayPal as the top payment option and, given eventwo-click capability, will take the PayPal path because of thatconvenience. Tapping in full card numbers on even a big smartphonescreen is a pain. Using PayPal’s vault of payment credentials andcookie-based logins, the mobile payment gets really easy. Not quiteas quick as Amazon’s mobile one-click, but reallyclose.
The PayPal platform is showing thatthere’s another way for mobile payments to evolve that’s based onsoftware instead of the long anticipated NFC evolution. And thissoftware avenue will connect via mobile consumers and merchants inunexpected ways, moving from one or two-click mobile transactionsto point of sale payments with software, and later hardware, on themobile handset taking on a larger share of POS terminal functions.The implications for the payment acquiring industry aremanifold.
Osama Bedier, PayPal’s lead on allthings platform and mobile, gets a little (OK, a LOT) hyperbolic onmobile commerce. But perhaps he can be forgiven. I’d be excited tooabout what its developer ecosystem has already created. And it isjust the beginning.