Talking tech since 2003

In recent years, financial management companies like PayPal, Square and even Google’s Wallet have been pushing for the world to embrace digital, on-the-go payments in place of (or in addition to) traditional methods like cash and credit cards. Though a small few have found success, like Square planting its feet in retail outlets big and small (from Starbucks stores to hot dog stands), many mobile payment methods are laborious and simply less convenient than simply swiping a card.

PayPal, with its newly redesigned mobile app for iPhone and Android, hopes to start changing people’s minds on mobile payments once again.

“The people have spoken, and they’re very clear when they say they want to carry their phone,” said Hill Ferguson, vice president of global product at PayPal to The Verge.

“That’s the thing that matters the most to them: if you can replace all the utility that a physical wallet has in the cloud … that’s the goal for us. We’re by no means declaring victory on this. But we feel like we’re ready to make a big push and tell the world around it.”

The new application comes packed with an assortment of useful features. It can store your credit cards, send and receive money between accounts, and even open credit lines should you need them. If stores that use PayPal are in your proximity while you’re out and about, you can order products ahead of your arrival, or pay your tab without waiting on a waiter to return with a check.

The only issue is, according to The Verge, it’s not a very simple app to use. At least, not as simple as swiping your credit card.

Screenshots Courtesy of The Verge.

The issues arise largely within the app’s user interface, which is considerably unclear in its layout and direction. Different tabs have vastly different looks and themes, and the navigation bar (at least on iOS) isn’t consistently at the bottom of the screen (which makes calling it a navigation bar iffy at best).

However, the app apparently functions wonderfully. It just appears to have somewhat of an awkward user experience and learning curve. But if that’s the case… doesn’t that alone defeat the purpose of mobile payments by and large? Aren’t they designed, at least on paper, to make the at-the-register shuffle either obsolete or far simpler an experience?

As of now, the app appears to be fantastic for making specific purchases like coffee ahead of time, but ultimately seems to depreciate its value to only a small swath of situations. This trend might catch on as PayPal, Google, Square and others continue to put the necessary tools in the hands of everyday customers, but those tools will simply have to get better if companies want to make a bigger splash.

[Source: The Verge]

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