EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2667 - November 04, 2011     2 of 4

Review: Tap, Swipe, Enter - PayPal Wallet Makes Shopping Smart

By Brian Cohen

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Where else to have a mobile product release than the city where the most mobile transactions in the United States occur - New York, of course!

On Wednesday night I attended PayPal's Shopping Showcase in Tribeca. PayPal had a mockup of their digital wallet, a powerhouse application that provides a near seamless brick-and-mortar shopping experience. "If you can spend it (airline miles, online game credits, loyalty points, gift cards) PayPal will organize and safeguard it for you."

The digital wallet mockup is covered in depth in Forbes' "PayPal's Coolest Mobile Wallet Feature: The Oops Button" (link to Forbes article). The headline refers to the option that consumers will have after purchasing an item - changing how they want to pay for it.

This "payment flexibility" will allow consumers to switch from paying with their bank account to their credit card, no questions asked, within five to 30 days of purchase. And, as PayPal explains, "Not only can you change the account you want to pay with, you can choose how you want to pay as well. Chic is hardly ever cheap, so maybe you'd like to pay off the purchase in 2 or 3 payments over time? With PayPal, you can. It's as easy as just a few clicks. No interest. No fees. No problem."

The exhibition booths (modeled as actual brick-and-mortar stores) did not refer to payment flexibility as PayPal's "Oops App," but it is interesting to find out from Elizabeth's article in Forbes how they will be able to pull off this feat - using PayPal's Bill Me Later network.

PayPal explains there are three ways to use the PayPal Wallet:

Options at Checkout - Choose One

  • SWIPE the New Paypal Card
  • ENTER your mobile phone number and 4 digit pin
  • TAP and pay with NFC (Near Field Communication)

Right now when I pay for an auction item on eBay via PayPal I have a couple of extra clicks to process that transaction with my credit card rather than using my bank account. It's an extra step (two actually: I'm always asked if I'm sure I want to do it) that I have to click through with each transaction.

Perhaps I have been lazy and haven't taken the time to figure out how to change my default payment option on PayPal, but I don't believe that to be the case. I hope that the eBay/Paypal shopping experience team takes note of PayPal's mobile brick-and-mortar shopping experience, which appears to be extremely flexible (not cumbersome as on eBay).

A feature I would like to see in the New PayPal Card is integration of the security key into the card. Not sure if there is space for it on the new card, but I would rather just have one PayPal card in my (physical) wallet than two.

I did have a keychain version of the security key, for which I paid $5 in August, but found I really didn't have the room to spare. Granted you can sign up to get security codes sent via text message to your cell phone. Maybe mobile wallet can have a key generator add-on rather than (or in addition to) this text option? And I see the security key is now its $30 (pardon me, $29.95),...what's up with that?

Some helper tools will be integrated into the wallet that you may already be familiar with - eBay's Shopping.com price comparison and Milo, a local shopping search engine, which is a more recent member of the eBay family.

Other tools enable creation of a shopping list and notifications of discounts and coupon "clipping" and rebate integration. Clipping can be done by scanning UPC and QR (Quick Response) codes.

Pay Where you want

  • Checkout while browsing in the shopping aisle
  • Enjoy cardless, cashless payments at the register
  • Place an order - and pay for it - from your phone before you even get into the store

One feature I would like to see integrated into the PayPal shopping experience is a shopping butler. While it would be nice to have someone do shopping for us, the next best thing might be item locator. This could be useful for large stores such as Home Depot or perhaps even a drug store like CVS. (To be clear, a shopping butler is on my personal wish list for the future.)

In all, I was extremely impressed with PayPal's virtual demo of its digital wallet. I am looking forward to the announcement of retail partners in the future, tossing my old Blackberry Curve (an 8320 from the cave man days), and getting something that will better complement this experience. I was thinking of waiting for 128 GB version of the iPod Touch and wrapping a peel around it - but if that's a nonstarter (NFC compatibility?), I'll probably get an Android Phone.

About the Author
Brian Cohen has been an active member of the eBay community since May 1998. He currently trades under the member name Bidofthis.com. His first EcommerceBytes article was published in May 2002. Brian can be contacted through his website at BidofThis.com where he always has a "little Bid of This and little Bid of That."


About the author:

Brian Cohen has been an active member of the eBay community since May 1998. He currently trades under the member name Bidofthis.com. His first AuctionBytes article was published in May 2002. Brian can be contacted through his website at http://www.bidofthis.com where he always has a "little Bid of This and little Bid of That."


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