You carry your smartphone everywhere, right? So wouldn't it be great if you could use it to pay for goods and services. That’s the idea behind the new PayPal app, which has been completely redesigned. See all app reviews.
Like Google Wallet, which isn’t yet available in the UK, PayPal's app is all you need to buy lunch or pick up some emergency inner tubes at your local bike shop.
The way it works is that you use the 'Local' section of the app to find shops and restaurants nearby which accept PayPal payment. Choose one and you can ‘check in’ to the store - maybe even order food ahead of your arrival. Above the list you may see offers, such as a free dish at a restaurant.
The shop will have an iPad or other device that can see who's checked in and, when it comes time to pay, they scroll through the list and find you by your photo. They can then charge you and your app will inform you that the payment has been made.
Depending on the shop or restaurant you might be able to see a breakdown of the receipt or even be able to split the bill between fellow diners.
Aside from the privacy issues, the system is clunky and slower than using your credit card or a contactless debit card. It might be useful if you've forgotten your wallet, but the number of shops accepting PayPal is severely limited at the moment. Some big names are on board, but it's a drop in the ocean really.
The other half of the app allows you to manage your PayPal account, see your current balance and recent transactions. Tapping on a transaction reveals almost no additional information: you can't see what it was that you bought (or sold), nor the seller's (or buyer's) address.
As before you can send money to friends or family, or pay for goods and services outside of ebay. It’s now much clearer if you or the seller has to pay the fees.
A Wallet tab shows which bank accounts and cards are linked to your PayPal account, and you can choose in the settings which one is the default.
Although it isn't a new feature, we like the ability to sign in to the app with your phone number and a PIN instead of laboriously tapping your email address and password.
We tested out the iOS version of the app on an iPhone but there is also an Android version.