PayPal wants to us to celebrate the notion of “New Money,” whereby technology reimagines how we can safely and affordably manage, move, and spend our cash. At this year’s Mobile World Congress, the digital payment processor has revealed new carrier partnerships and market expansions for its products, all aimed at giving us more choices.
Starting today, PayPal has teamed up with select carriers to integrate the payment platform into the telecom providers’ phones, beginning with parts of Europe and Latin America. PayPal also announced that it has begun supporting near field communications (NFC), available to those using Vodafone in Spain today. Additionally, the company has expanded the number of markets served not only by its Xoom acquisition, but also by its One Touch program.
Reaching out to carriers
PayPal sees itself as more than a company with a standalone mobile app. It wants to be useful whenever people need to make financial transactions, whether with a business or with friends. One area of focus is telecommunication providers, which builds off PayPal’s deal with Deutsche Telekom in 2014. In furthering that goal, PayPal has struck up new relationships with Vodafone and also America Movil subsidiaries Telcel and Claro in Latin America.
This means Vodafone customers can sync their PayPal account with the carrier’s digital wallet to pay for goods at any Visa contactless terminal using their Android smartphones. This offering is now available to those in Spain and will expand to more European markets later this year. The PayPal-Vodafone partnership was developed in collaboration with Raphaels Bank and technology provider Carta Worldwide.
“Payments is a complicated business. PayPal works with select partners and [is] integrated deeply with them so that the joint offering is driving consumers to benefit from the interaction,” said Anuj Nayar, PayPal’s global head of product communications, in an interview. “From PayPal’s point of view, Vodafone gets access to our integrated platform — in app, online, in-store, and can offer our services to their customers. PayPal will gain access to millions of users.”
With Telcel and Claro, PayPal has launched a similar program, this time targeting customers in Mexico and Brazil, respectively. Integrations rolling out this spring will enable subscribers to pay for services using the carriers’ digital wallets, starting with airtime popups — pay as you go —something that Nayar said is most used in Latin America. “Once you have the wallet embedded in the phone, it’s clear you’re going to do everyday stuff more,” he explained.
“Through partnerships, and PayPal’s technology-agnostic approach, we are able to give merchants and consumers more flexibility and choice in how they want to pay and get paid,” the company boasted.
Letting the customer choose
PayPal also offered news around its Xoom and One Touch programs — this time aimed at making it easier for people to transfer money to others around the world.
In 2015, the payment company acquired Xoom for $890 million to bring its international money transfer service in-house. At the time, Xoom was operating in 37 countries worldwide, had 1.3 million customers, and transferred roughly $7 billion. Today, PayPal revealed that Xoom has expanded to 41 markets, including the Philippines and soon Kenya, where you’ll be able to directly deposit money in anyone’s M-Pesa digital wallet.
PayPal also has news about its quick checkout offering, One Touch. With more than 18 million consumers opting into the service, the company has greatly expanded accessibility, bringing One Touch to 143 markets (most of them currently serviced by the company), a sizeable increase from the 23 available previously. Nayar said that this expansion offers another example of its technology built on a global platform, something he said gives PayPal a tremendous advantage over its competitors: “We deliver stuff at a global scale that very few people can do because they don’t have the underlying platform.”
Lastly, near field communications (NFC) is coming to PayPal’s newly redesigned mobile app. The company stated that the technology will be supported in a future version of the app and is already available to those in Spain through its partnership with Vodafone. It’ll be available in the United States and Australia on Android sometime later this year. Once it’s enabled, you’ll be able to simply tap and pay with your PayPal app at any store that accepts contactless payments.
Innovating on a global scale
While these partnerships may not seem big in comparison to what some other companies are doing, PayPal would like you to know that when it does roll out innovations, it does so “on a global scale,” covering 145 markets. Following the company’s divorce from eBay in 2015, Nayar explained that a key tenet has been that “the most important thing to do is make it possible for people to choose what they want to do and get rid of the hurdles and traffic.”
PayPal views these partnerships and expanding services as evidence of its efforts to improve technology around financial services and make it easier, faster, and simpler to gain access to the funds that we want, no matter where we are or what we need to do.