As we bitstream our way toward a cashless society, digital wallet services have become increasingly prevalent. Banks offer them, Google offers one and Apple has plans for a digital wallet in the works. Finally, the grandaddy of online payment services, PayPal, has joined the party. TechCrunch reports that PayPal, fresh off the premiere of its in-store payment platform for large retailers, is shaping its vision of what a consumer’s digital wallet should be.
PayPal’s director of communications Anuj Nayar told TechCrunch that the online payment service is in the process of making major changes.
“PayPal is changing, and this is the first major revamp of the core PayPal product,” he said. “We’re known as an online payments brand but this is all part of PayPal becoming an actual wallet.”
Consumers’ financial flexibility is PayPal’s goal, noted Sam Shrauger, the company’s Vice President of Global Product and Experience.
“(The new) PayPal will let consumers do things with their money that have never been possible before,” said Shrauger.
One thing PayPal’s new digital wallet will help consumers achieve is greater flexibility in the way that they pay for an item in a store. A customer can buy something on one credit card at a retail location, take the item home, then decide to change the funding source of their already completed purchase. PayPal digital wallet provides the consumer with a five- to seven-day grace period in which to make this change, provided the funding credit, debit or gift card is tied to the consumer’s PayPal digital wallet. Not only that, the digital wallet enables users to set up automatic installment payments and use multiple payment sources for a single purchase.
PayPal digital wallet will enable consumers to manager their favorite methods of payment, and it will allow users to create personal wish lists, a la Amazon. Consumers will be able to search for items through PayPal, compare prices and make lists. PayPal will reportedly find the best deals and coupons automatically, whether the consumer is in-store or online.
PayPal digital wallet also enables consumers to design specific rules for specific cards and bank accounts. For instance, users can earmark a specific bank account to be used for groceries, while other cards can be marked for entertainment or travel use. As long as users pay with their PayPal digital wallets, PayPal automatically recognizes the nature of the purchase and ties it to the appropriate payment source automatically.
Nayar told TechCrunch that the features of PayPal digital wallet will be available to consumers by late May 2012. Considering that PayPal has more than 100 million active users and is device-agnostic, company executives believe that its digital wallet should pose hefty competition to pre-existing services from competitors.
“This will be your new PayPal account,” said Nayar.
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