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 PayPal in the Air! - A Look At PayPal Mobile

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Number of posts : 1850
Age : 55
Registration date : 2008-03-08

PostSubject: PayPal in the Air! - A Look At PayPal Mobile   Mon 7 Apr - 21:30

First Pass: PayPal in the Air
First, let's review what we know about PayPal Mobile so far - given that it hasn't actually been formally announced and we don't yet have the "official spin". Note that PayPal Mobile's page on the PayPal web site today says it's in "Limited Release" at this time for PayPal employees - and that a comprehensive PayPal Mobile FAQ is available. We'll start looking at the basics - and how the PayPal user agreement terms have been adjusted to apply to the mobile service.

A Walk Through The PayPal Mobile Policy
PayPal Mobile allows an existing PayPal user (in the US, UK or Canada) to link a mobile phone number to her PayPal account. Note that PayPal says that not all mobile numbers will work - the number must be registered to an "approved telephone carrier". PayPal also says it allows up to eight mobile phone numbers to be linked to a PayPal user's account but that a given mobile phone number can only be linked to a single PayPal account.

Once the mobile phone number has been authenticated as being in the hands of the user and the PayPal account has been linked, the PayPal user can send payments to others using their mobile phone numbers - either by sending either an SMS text message or by calling a PayPal IVR and key entering in the payment details.

PayPal Mobile also allows the user to: receive notifications of receipt of payments, access certain account details; and "carry out other payment related services as may be advised to you from time to time". The payments you send can be funded from your PayPal account balance, a confirmed bank account, credit or debit card or PayPal Buyer Credit as a funding source. You cannot send payments funded by PayPal gift certificates, eChecks or an unverified bank account.

PayPal's Mobile Policy (user agreement) makes the user responsible for the care of the phone, protecting the associated PIN (including not recording it or storing it in the mobile device), the costs charged by mobile carriers for handling SMS messages, etc. The policy also points out that PayPal's Buyer Protection Plan does not apply to payments using PayPal Mobile.

The Basics: Sending Money by Phone
When you use SMS-based text messaging to send money to someone, you send SMS messages to PayPal like the following:

send 10.99 to 2125551981
s 10.99 t 2125551981
send 5 to
s 5 t
You can optionally tell PayPal to share your address or phone information with the receiver.
send 10.99 to 4150001234 share address
send 10.99 to 3105551212 share phone
Before it actually completes that payment, PayPal calls you back on your mobile phone and requests you provide your PIN to confirm the payment. Once confirme by the sender, PayPal then sends the recipient instructions on how to claim the payment. Presumably (we've not yet verified this) the recipient doesn't need to be a PayPal user to receive the payment - but does need to be one to claim the funds (in other words, sign up as a PayPal user).

You can also check your PayPal account balance from your mobile phone by just sending PayPal the word "bal".

The Sizzle: Text To Buy
PayPal Mobile will also be supporting a new "Text To Buy" (TTB) service - and TTB turns out to be much more interesting to many of us at Glenbrook than just sending money to Mom (or son or daughter!). TTB envisions a new world where merchants promote specific items for sale - on TV, in a catalog, at a concert, or a live sporting event.

Imagine you're at the hot Strolling Bones concert at AT&T Park and they've got a superhot new live DVD available just for concert go'ers. But, since it's still being created (it's a live concert, remember?), you can't get it tonight. You just can't buy it at the stadium - as if you wanted to stand in lines to do so anyway.

But, tonight, through the magic of PayPal TTB, you can order that DVD - just now, when you're thinking you just have to have it. When Mick strutts his "Start Me Up" stuff up on stage and holds up the "TTB: DVD to 26637" sign (BONES on your keypad!) - and that same message flashes everywhere as you're leaving tonight, you'll know just what to do. Send that message from your PayPal-enrolled mobile phone, say yes to the confirmation phone call you receive within in a minute or two, and that superhot (well, by now, maybe it's semi-cool!) DVD will arrive in a day or two, shipped automatically to your PayPal address of record and billed to your PayPal account. What a use case! Rock 'n roll indeed!

While TTB obviously doesn't work for things like apparel where you have to select size, color, etc., it seems to work really well for the ginzu steak knife salesgirl on the home shopping channel, for Ron P. selling his rotisserie roasters on that late night informercial (does TTB support "only 8 low monthly payments of...?"), and maybe even for that shaggy SkyMall catalog in the back of the seat pocket in front of you in seat 11B (giving yet another new meaning to "PayPal in the Air"!). Even those endless looping ads you see in theaters waiting for the real show to begin could become new sales channels for merchants powered by PayPal TTB.

So, we're pretty excited about the potential for TTB. It's not perfect, it doesn't do everything, but it seems pretty ideal for the quick hit "I gotta have that" purchase on the run. Obviously, the devil's in the details and we'll see soon enough whether he's got horns or not.

What's TTB Got To Do With It?
By the way, one of our consumer marketing-saavy friends shares a comment about PayPal TTB:

"Couldn't they have called it "Ding-a-ling" or something like that - something that consumers might actually remember? How do you actually pronounce TTB anyway? Sounds like a very embarrassing noise when I try to say it!"

She wants to know "who's in charge of product naming at PayPal anyway?"

I guess we've just become less sensitive to these kinds of branding issues in payments. After all, we see folks talking about new payment product offerings using names like "credit push"!
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