Want to pay for your latte before you arrive at the coffee shop? PayPal has you covered.
The mobile payments giant debuted an updated smartphone application for Android and iOS Thursday that offers digital coupons and lets users pay for items at participating merchants without ever having to take out a credit card or cash. You can even order in advance at thousands of locations in New York, San Francisco and Austin.
"We've got one solution that allows you to do all of these things: Pay your friends, pay your merchants online, pay your merchants in store or send money to your grandma who lives in Lithuania. We can do all of that directly from the PayPal app," says Anuj Nayar, Paypal's senior director of global initiatives.
In an interview with WNYC host Amy Eddings, New York Times technology reporter Brian Chen talks about how the updated PayPal app compares with Google Wallet, Pay With Square and other so-called "mobile wallets" seeking to replace the worn leather one in your pocket or purse.
"This is the most complete mobile wallet application we've seen, in America at least," Chen says. "The trade-off of having all these features in one application is that it makes it even more complicated."
PayPal has 132 million users worldwide, including 55 million in the United States, and Chen says this existing infrastructure could help the app gain traction among some consumers, especially hardcore techies.
However, he says, it remains to seen whether the general population will gravitate toward the new features PayPal is offering.