PayPal Introduces Square Cash-like PayPal.Me

PayPal.MeYesterday, PayPal’s head of consumer business, Hill Ferguson, stepped down. Today, it introduced a new consumer product, PayPal.Me.

The first bit of news means the influence of Braintree founder Bill Ready, head of merchant business at PayPal, is growing. The second bit means PayPal liked the experience of Square Cash, so it’s offering that, too.

PayPal.Me is designed to be an easier way to send person-to-person payments. It allows users to create a custom URL that can be sent to friends with requests to send money.

There is a slight dissonance with the service, which is built around web URLs and the desktop appearance, but optimized for mobile. The desktop image from PayPal.Me appears on this page. The app itself appears unchanged — the iOS and Android versions have not been updated since early August. It does not seem that you can acquire a PayPal.Me URL from within the app. It works fine from the mobile browser, however.

Sharing a link is easy enough via text, and users can even append the amount owed, so “paypal.me/johndoe/20” would be a request from your friend John Doe for 20 bucks.

PayPal has more than 170 million users located all over the globe, and PayPal.Me will roll out to all of them, according to Techcrunch. Venmo, currently PayPal’s smoothest P2P service, is US-only. So why not just bring the Venmo experience, which includes a social element, to PayPal’s larger user base?

In the future, PayPal.Me will likely be fully integrated into the PayPal app and experience, and ideally will take fewer steps than logging into your PayPal account … finding the friend’s email address … and setting an amount to pay. But for now it is PayPal finally moving to mobile-optimized P2P payment experience — on the desktop.

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Philip Ryan is Senior Editor of Bank Innovation and Senior Director of INV Fintech. He began covering financial services in 2012 and has more than 15 years' experience in online journalism, which makes him quite old. He can be reached at pryan@royalmedia.com.

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