PayPal is updating its mobile app, adding features such as the ability to place an order ahead of time and pay with it while at the restaurant table.
The move comes as eBay Inc.’s subsidiary works to expand beyond processing payments for online purchases. It’s been trying to service transactions at brick-and-mortar stores as the two worlds continue to meld.
The free app is available Thursday for iPhones and Android phones. It includes a feature called “Shop.” With it, people can find nearby stores and restaurants that take PayPal payments. People can also use their phones to pay for things.
Forrester Research analyst Denee Carrington called the update the next step in mobile payments, though she noted that some features — such as the ability to use PayPal to pay the check at a restaurant — could take people some time to get used to.
“People are not struggling with paying. They don’t need an easier way to pay. Paying with your card isn’t hard,” she said.
Rather, she said, what’s needed is a “smarter and more convenient commerce experience before, during and after the moment of payment.”
This means the ability to see coupons and special offers near you, or receive financing through PayPal’s “Bill Me Later” service while you’re in the store wondering how you’ll be able to afford that new couch.
Forrester estimates that there will be about $90 billion spent through mobile payments in the U.S. in 2016. Although PayPal has a slew of competitors, such as Square and Google, Carrington said that “no one has an inroad to the merchant community the way PayPal does.”