To Simplify Mobile Shopping, PayPal Wants To Eliminate Filling Out Billing And Shipping Info

The PayPal subsidiary is releasing a set of developer tools that reduce mobile shopping to one touch.

In the age of smartphones and tablets, it may seem odd when a company that sells its goods online isn't optimized for mobile devices. But shopping on such gadgets remains so fraught with clumsiness and confusion that 68% of mobile carts are abandoned.

"If I have to do a bunch of typing on a tiny touch screen, that's painful for me, and I'm less likely to complete my purchase," Braintree CEO Bill Ready told Fast Company. Last fall, PayPal acquired the Chicago-based mobile payments startup for $800 million.

To address this pain point, Braintree on Tuesday rolled out new developer tools so its customers--including Uber, Airbnb, HotelTonight, TaskRabbit, and Angry Birds creator Rovio, to name a few--can simplify and speed up the payment process on mobile devices. The release of One Touch PayPal comes shortly after Visa debuted Visa Checkout, a layer that lets customers purchase products online without having to re-enter their payment information on new sites.

Using One Touch PayPal, companies can quickly identify and authenticate existing PayPal or Venmo customers and their payment information. Once it has been implemented, a process that Ready says takes about 10 minutes and a few lines of code, the payment screen on the third-party app will switch over to the PayPal or Venmo app to authenticate automatically before returning to the checkout page so customers can complete their purchases. The authentication experience takes a few seconds and aims to reduce shopping to a single tap, but customers might be asked for more information if they are shipping to an address that isn't on file or if the transaction is flagged for potential fraud.

"We think that three years from now, if you fill out a credit card form and shipping address on your device, that would feel as archaic as a green-screen terminal will feel to you now," Ready said.

Aside from reducing friction in mobile shopping, a recent report suggests PayPal, and in particular Braintree, is in talks with companies that facilitate Bitcoin transactions to accept the virtual currency. Responding to these reports, PayPal provided the following statement to Fast Company: "We do believe that Bitcoin will play an important role in payments in the future but we have nothing to announce."

[Image: Flickr user Beck Gusler]

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