EBay's PayPal soon will launch mobile payments, barcode scanning via a handheld device (not limited to phones), store inventory lookup, and location-based deals, the company said in a blog post complete with a sneak preview video.
The new features are designed to help businesses "give their customers a much better shopping and buying experience through PayPal," blogged the company's president, Scott Thompson. (They're also designed to help EBay compete with Amazon.com in the e-commerce market, as well as start-ups like Square, whose technology allows anyone to turn a mobile phone into a credit card processor. Read more about Square.)
Thompson wrote: "We all know that shopping is fun but paying is not. Nobody likes to stand in line. Nobody likes waiting for their bill at the restaurant. At PayPal, we want to free you from the cash register." Another new feature will let customers pay for goods using just their name and telephone number, Sam Shrauger, PayPal's vice president of global product and experience, told Bloomberg.
The feature should help companies convert those just browsing into actual buyers: Shrauger said offering to let a customer pay on a mobile phone with two clicks converted 34 percent more surfers to buyers. It also spiked the number of clients paying via PayPal by as much as 65 percent.
PayPal will also give customers more flexibility, letting them decide how to pay for purchases after they've made them. Buyers will be able to use PayPal Credit to make payments in installments (PayPal also owns Bill Me Later, which has finance fees and late charges similar to a credit card). Buyers also can opt to use a credit card or bank account.
PayPal will test the features with 20 merchants before the end of this year, and expects a wide release in the spring and summer of 2012.