In PayPal's vision of the future, transactions will no longer begin with you reaching for the wallet in your back pocket while waiting in line to check out. Instead, you'll be reaching for your smartphone, and you won't have to wait.
A new mobile app the payments company released today for iOS and Android brings elements of that wallet-less future to life through new features designed to eliminate specific pain points of the consumer-purchasing experience. Forgot your wallet at home? No problem, PayPal says. Want to get your coffee while skipping the long line? Can do.
Many of the updates in the new app center around a new, Foursquare-like system that asks users to check in to a business. Once you check in, you can pick from several new mobile-based payment options. If you forgot your wallet at home, for example, checking into a business in the PayPal app would allow you to use your phone to pay for transactions. Checking in also unlocks options like the new Order Ahead feature that lets you place and pay for an order ahead of time so you don't have to wait in line, and it gives you the ability to pay for a restaurant bill and include a tip without having to flag down your waiter for the check. The new app implies PayPal is thinking as much about the moments before and after a transaction as it is about the transaction itself.
Of course, there aren't many things the app lets you do that a physical wallet and credit card won't—a perennial problem for mobile payment companies. Which means much of PayPal's success with its new app relies heavily on the number of retailers they can onboard and how easy users find the app to use.
[Images courtesy of PayPal]