The technology will allow Android users with a NFC-enabled phone (right now that means the Samsung Nexus S) to initiate payments with one another by tapping their devices together. PayPal demoed the new feature Wednesday at MobileBeat 2011.
PayPal Mobile has supported bump-style mobile peer-to-peer payments in its iPhone and Android apps for quite some time, but what makes the NFC implementation different is in its ease and speed of use.
As Shimone Samuel, product experience manager for PayPal Mobile explained to Mashable, the process for initiating and confirming payments using the NFC feature is just two taps per user, rather than the multi-stepped process required in the bump-powered implementation.
This is how it works:
- The PayPal Mobile app will now feature an NFC payments widget that can be displayed on an Android phone screen.
- The user who wants to request money hits the request-for-payment button and enters the amount.
- The user who is sending money needs to have his or her phone screen on and tap or wave the phone near the other user. Wait for the buzz sound.
- The requesting user receives a notification and enters in his or her PIN to confirm the transfer.
For the person-to-person payment space, this is a big deal. It cuts down on the hassle involved in doing mobile or online payments
Because Android is the only major smartphone platform to support NFC, it is the first beneficiary of this new feature. In the past, the iPhone has led over Android when it comes to getting new features in the PayPal Mobile app. This time, as Samuel told us, “the iPhone users are the ones that get to ask ‘when is it coming for us?’”
Future Android devices that support NFC should also support the new widget because PayPal is building it to Google’s API specifications. When non-Android platforms get around to supporting NFC, PayPal will look at adding the feature to those apps too.
PayPal’s use of NFC for peer-to-peer payments differs from the way Google Wallet wants to use the technology. In the case of Google Wallet, Google’s goal is to work with traditional retailers and credit card companies and payment terminals.