By Randy Smith,
Mobile Wallet Media
September 9, 2013
About Mobile Wallet Media
Mobile Wallet Media is a news media, analyst, marketing and consulting firm focused on the future of mobile: payments, marketing, loyalty commerce, security, prepaid, virtual currency, daily deals and the convergence of them all with social and local. The Chief Editor, Randy Smith, was the primary founder, inventor and former CEO of MobilePayUSA, a TechCrunch Disrupt Startup Alley Winner.
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PayPal has taken a big step in the right direction with its new mobile payment app. The previous design was straight out of 2003 (yes, I'm aware apps did not exist until 2008). However, for a mobile wallet to have a fighting chance it needs to provide more convenience and security than the physical wallet.
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PayPal's Mobile Payment App Looks Good, But Where's Loyalty, Gift, Scalability & Security?
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With a new bold focus on shopping in the real, local world, PayPal is trying to extend its reach from being just an ecommerce and P2P payment company. The ability to save offers and redeem them seamlessly with payment is what shoppers want. Being able to pay at table and order in advance at restaurants adds value as well. Paying friends in seconds to settle a bill is a nice complimentary feature. This being said, these new conveniences shall not often persuade me to use their app unless I can use it all over town, not just at small boutiques. And where's the loyalty and gift card program, enhanced security and scalability?
Yes, we are back to the chicken and egg issue here of scalable technology to enable in-store mobile payments. For now it appears PayPal is sticking to their current mobile POS tech of geo-fencing and checking in to pay. But is this scalable? While this revamped app looks better on the surface, it is still stuck with the same problems I pointed out last fall. Their check-in service is limited to merchants using tablets and thieves may capture your phone number and pin and use to make fraudulent purchases.

Now to be fair and forward-looking, PayPal may have already solved the security problem with entering your phone number and static PIN (my idea is they can solve this problem through one-time use, in-app dynamic PIN generation). And in regards to scalability of their check-in to pay beyond tablets, they recently partnered with Micros, NCR and Mercury. So they appear be moving to expand their check-in to pay service. But, question is how user friendly will this service be for cashiers in navigating such transactions? If there are 15 people in line or in-store, checked in and ready to pay, like with Pay With Square, does the cashier have to sift through images to find the correct person to charge the transaction to?

Last year I ventured out to pay at Home Depot using PayPal, I was able to only after the cashier got assistance from a manager that knew how to navigate their POS software to process PayPal. And I was unable to find a local merchant that knew how to process payments using PayPal Check-In (went to one and called 2-3 others). I found out that just because a merchant has signed up for PayPal, it does not mean they have trained employees on how to use their services.

I'm still kind of baffled here. Why is PayPal stuck in 2008-2011? Are they not a leader in emerging payments? It's not for lack of capital! So what gives? Oh yeah speaking of giving, where's 'Cause Marketing?' And where’s ‘Social Sharing’? What's the delay here? PayPal has a partnership with Discover and there are other more scalable ways to accelerate their acceptance in market PayPal's Check-In. PayPal needs to check pride at the door (as do all mobile wallet players) and embrace innovation that will propel them forward lest they will be passed by Apple, MCX, LevelUp, Facebook and others. PayPal, I love your reach and progress, but you must step up your game. It's time to hold no punches!