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PayPal Goes Mobile 103

Posted by samzenpus
from the pay-on-the-go dept.
Stitch_Surfs writes "PayPal has gone mobile. MobileCrunch breaks the news (with images) of PayPal's (un) surprising move onto mobile phones. According to the site, money can be sent,received and goods purchased all via PayPal from your mobile phone."
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PayPal Goes Mobile

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  • Not surprising (Score:5, Interesting)

    by turg (19864) * <turg@winstoYEATSn.org minus poet> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @10:16PM (#14977820) Journal
    I signed up for PayPal when they first started. They started out as a service for beaming payments between Palm Pilots. You put money into your PayPal account from your credit card or bank account. Then you'd sync your Palm with your PayPal account and you could beam money (via IR) to/from other peoples' Palms. And, as a secondary feature, you could transfer money to other people's accounts on the web site too.

    Well, it turned out that the the secondary feature was the one that took off and the one that was originally the whole point eventually got dropped. So this is really just a return to their original concept from 8 years ago rather than some suprising new idea.
    • Re:Not surprising (Score:3, Interesting)

      by johnpaul191 (240105)
      as much as it was a novelty, it was great. it was incredibly dorky to be at a restaurant and have one person charge the meal on a credit card and everyone else to pull out their palm pilots and beam the card owner for their portion of the bill.

      i thought i heard there was some issue with security, or people not hot syncing enough or something that helped end the Palm based payment fun?
    • That was one of the things that I thought was cool about PayPal too. Unfortunately, by the time I got a PDA, they cancelled the service.
    • Before it was "paypal" wasn't it X.com?
      • Re:Not surprising (Score:3, Informative)

        by silentbozo (542534)
        Before it was "paypal" wasn't it X.com?

        No. X.com was a banking service that was later merged with Paypal. Paypal existed for processing payments before X.com was absorbed. I know this because I had accounts with both, and after X.com was taken over, they killed off the checking services.

        I was rather pissed that Paypal dropped the beamable cash idea (I chose not to pursue the same line of business for my startup at the time because they already had one up and running), so I'm glad they're finally putting
    • And given their latest business practices, it will take them 3-4 days to recover that money to a real bank account....
  • Why wouldn't you just have some sort of smartcard reader system that automatically charged the purchase to your phone bill?
    • by kwiqsilver (585008)
      You can buy things today with your phone (like ring tones, wallpaper, etc). The problem is the phone carriers charge 20%-40%. Paypal charges a tenth of that, so the companies can either make more profit or lower their prices.
      Also, PayPal will allow you to buy all sorts of products, and it will handle the ordering, payment, and shipping, all you have to do is read the confirmation emails.
      • I'm talking about paying for groceries with your phone rather than with a credit card. Any face-to-face transaction where you would normally use a credit card could be replaced with a phone swipe. Since the SIM can hold encrypted validation, it should be reasonably easy to come up with a safe scheme to put charges on the phone and have them show up on the monthly phone bill, like a credit card.

        Yes, operators charging usurious rates to use such a service is not good, but with sufficient competition in the
        • Credit cards already have an excellent system in place to do that, and the big chains (Walmart, Kroger, Safeway, etc.) can negotiate a really low rate with Visa/MC.
          For that to be done through a cell phone, the phone would have to somehow carry a pre-pay balance, or they'd have to extend credit, which requires a banking charter in the US. So really what you'd essentially be doing is tying a Visa account to your cell phone, rather than a plastic card. One less item to carry around.
          PayPal will probably enter
          • PayPal will probably enter into the brick and mortar payments industry in the next several years,

            If that's the case, then won't they be bound by banking laws that they're basically immune from right now?

        • Since the SIM can hold encrypted validation, it should be reasonably easy to come up with a safe scheme to put charges on the phone and have them show up on the monthly phone bill, like a credit card.

          1. Not all phones use SIMs. (Only GSM phones do, IIRC...CDMA, TDMA, iDEN, and analog phones (does anybody still use analog?) don't.)
          2. On the last GSM phone I used, the SIM was buried under the battery. I don't think having to dig it out of the phone to make a payment would be all that convenient.
          • 1. All 3G phones use SIM cards; it is so mandated in the 3GPP spec.
            2. There is no reason to extend such functionality backwards to people who aren't willing to upgrade.
            3. Surely you don't take the smart chip out of your security badge every time you need to unlock a door! The SIM stays inside the phone and the smartcard talks to the reader via radio. Also see FeLiCa.

            Now, it requires a bit of motivation on the part of operators, and that's the primary reason why we're all stuck without this functionality.
            • 1. All 3G phones use SIM cards; it is so mandated in the 3GPP spec.

              I don't know what your point in saying that was, but the OP stated a fact. Not all phones have SIM cards; what does 3G have to do with anything? Not all phones are 3G.

              Ask anyone with service through Sprint - our fancy CDMA phones don't have a SIM card.

              • Also, 3GPP doesn't cover all 3G phones. 3G GSM yes, 3G CDMA2000 no. CDMA2000 1xEV-DO is 3G and has no requirement for SIM cards, and in fact does not even support SIM cards.
  • by poopie (35416) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @10:18PM (#14977828) Journal
    Great - no need to use my ATM card at strip clubs anymore.

    Oh, wait... at least with my ATM card, I'm limited to *TWO* days maximum withdrawls for monetary damage (max out before midnight, max out after midnight).
    • With an ATM card, you simply swipe it between her buttocks.

      With paypal phone...what am I supposed to do? shove it up there?

      Grump
    • It's really a determinant of where you are. Here in Ohio and Illinois the strip clubs aren't all that. Standard cock tease, go home and whack off, probably ruin the sheets.

      Key West though. . . the only rule is "don't put your fingers in my poon" . . . and they encourage you to squeeze their fake breasts. I lost hundreds of dollars finding that out, then "experimenting" with the rules. I should have just gone right for the poon and gotten banned for life.

  • Info from the PayPal site, since there's only a screen capture at mobilecrunch:

    How do I activate my phone to send and receive mobile payments?
    You can activate your phone for use with PayPal by following these steps:

    Here's How:

    Go to https://www.paypal.com/mobile [paypal.com]
    Click the Activate button.
    Log in to your PayPal account or sign up for a PayPal account.
    Select or add a phone and create a mobile PIN.
    Click Continue.
    PayPal will call and prompt you to enter your mobile PIN to confirm that you have posse
    • If you already have a paypal account, just log into it and go to your profile. If you go to edit your phone numbers, there's an "Activate for payments" link beside it.

      It's also important to note that you only have to activate to be able to SEND money to other people. If you have a paypal account, and have put in your phone number and such, then people can send payments to your number and it will know it is you. You may need to activate in order to receive the payment though.

      Actually, from further reading, y
  • Hmm, I couldn't find any mentions of passwords.
  • by MasJ (594702) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @10:20PM (#14977839) Homepage
    Well, Paypal on the go sounds pretty good, it's an alternative to putting your credit card number in over a mobile network, and sounds much safer. However, how many people here feel that this would open up an entire audience of really susceptible users to phishing scams ?

    Wouldn't it be harder to spot a phishing scam over a mobile device considering that the display on a mobile is pretty limited in screen real estate ? On good ol' 'puters you can just move your mouse over the hyperlink and make out that it's a scam.
    • by AuMatar (183847) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @11:05PM (#14978008)
      Credit cards are issued by banks and have strict federal regulation. Paypal is NOT a bank, as decided by a federal court, and is under no regulation. I'd rather use a credit card.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      "Wouldn't it be harder to spot a phishing scam over a mobile device considering that the display on a mobile is pretty limited in screen real estate ? On good ol' 'puters you can just move your mouse over the hyperlink and make out that it's a scam."

      Technically, no..
      Mobile to Mobile - shows the phone number "MIN" of the original sender
      SNPP and Email to SMS - shows the same MIN as destination. IE. it appears to be from myself

      Which basically leaves only a few options left, but this Paypal thing I presume is
  • Well, if I use this, I'll be sure to put my phone on lock mode. I never really felt the need before, since it's a small hassle to punch in the pass every time I want to use it, but I'm sure I'll lose it somewhere at some point.

    Looks like it could be handy, and there's a lot more info at the PayPal site, do a search for 'phone'.
  • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @10:25PM (#14977866) Homepage

    Until Paypal address the issues presented by PaypalSucks [paypalsucks.com] and similar sites, I'm going to continue to feel disillusioned about what was once the cat's pajamas.

    But anyway, looks like O'Reilly will need to update Paypal Hacks [amazon.com] with information on this new mobile device support. The 2004 edition is getting noticeably out-of-date.

    • PaypalSucks (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Poromenos1 (830658)
      After reading that site and a few stories of users that have had their accounts locked by PayPal, I'm convinced that that is no rare phenomenon and I try to avoid using PayPal as much as I can.

      I am eagerly looking forward to an alternative like GBuy (is it really?) so I can feel a bit safer making transactions on the web. Knowing that I might create something that finally allows me to make a decent bit of money only to have PayPal lock my account and take all of it isn't very reassuring.
      • My friend two weeks ago had an issue where he did not receive $120.00 which was sent by someone who confirms that he sent it. A typical story of "Wtf PayPal didn't work..". Unlike what many fo those stories say, there is a phone number on the PayPal site to contact somebody to speak to (and not a machine). Idin't hear the whole conversation but basically the PayPal guy explained the steps to do in order to fix the problem and receive the money he should of had and he got it.

        The point is that many of these s
        • Wow. a whole _one_ datapoint!

          Look at the number on the website. Area code (402)? Doesn't look toll-free to me. Of course they make you wait on the phone. It's not costing _them_ anything to leave you on the phone for 20 minutes.

          Until they provide a 1-800 number that works from Canada; then they're still scumbags.

          • Look at the number on the website. Area code (402)? Doesn't look toll-free to me.

            Who TF actually pays extra for long distance these days? No one. What, are you calling paypal from a coinop pay phone or something?

            Until they provide a 1-800 number that works from Canada; then they're still scumbags.

            They may be scumbags, but not catering to the whims of one guy in canada who can't be bothered to get reasonable phone service isn't why.
            • PayPal is an international service, phone numbers don't mean much to me (a Greek). I'm not going to spend more money calling than I want to get, live chat/fast email support is the only think that works for me.
      • I am eagerly looking forward to an alternative like GBuy (is it really?)

        Me too. I have an excellent business idea that will only work if transactions can be accepted for less than $0.30 + 2-3%.

        I'll be dealing with a few thousand transactions for items in the $1-$2 range, and unfortunately I don't see any current method of making this work based on transaction fees.

    • If you haven't heard about the shady dealings of paypal, then you need to visit the website posted in the parent. A much more reliable and safe alternative can be found here [995merchantaccounts.com].

      But who knows. Maybe this'll get them in shape... at least enough to not fuck with people's money.
    • You know, I've always been a bit suspicious of that site. I'm not saying Paypal is the best company in the world or anything, but a lot of the stories sound like "I'd managed to scam this guy and it was great but then Paypal locked me out, maybe if I make enough noise and embarrass them enough they'll open my account long enough for me to grab the money and run".

      I'm by no means a high volume Paypal user, but these stories do make me suspicious, especially when someone is advertising some competitor I've
    • Hey there. I authored the PayPal Hacks book. We hope to begin working on an updated version of the book. They have come a long way since its release, but it still should be some help to people just starting out. The advanced stuff is what is mostly outdated.

      Thanks.

      SS
  • Um... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AWhiteFlame (928642) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @10:27PM (#14977878) Homepage
    I don't recall ever having the need to pay something with credit card on my phone. If I'm there, and I have my phone, why not just..er...pay with a credit card? Its not like I'll be ebaying on an 1 1/2" screen... Am I missing something?
  • by nxtw (866177) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @10:32PM (#14977898)
    PayPal has had a mobile interface for years, via WAP.
    http://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=p/gen/mob ile-outside [paypal.com]
  • by mrshowtime (562809) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @10:33PM (#14977901)
    Paypal has a hard on for "limiting" account access for just about any reason today. Does anyone see the nightmare of trying to use paypal on a mobile phone? You had might as well call paypal and ask them to suspend your account, because 10 seconds after you sign up for "paypal mobile" your paypal account will suddenly have "suspicious" activity (you actually using it)and will be limited for "your" protection. Paypal limited my account access when I was using my paypal debit card out of state (one state over) to buy GAS. It was just ONE transaction and -that- triggered their fraud flags?! Maybe if google was doing this, but paypal, forget it.
    • That's odd. I don't believe that was the sole reason your account as limited.

      They should have called and confirmed that you made the purchase if they suspected fraud, like any responsible financial institution. Perhaps they locked the account temporarily because you weren't reachable?

      I have yet to be marked for "suspicious" activity for something so silly. PayPal did limit my account until they had a verified banking account & verified identity (by that point, I had made a lot of transactions already
      • 'Reasonable financial institution' aren't really words I would ever use to describe PayPal's services. I've of course read PayPalSucks.com, but I've also been charged three times for a single purchase among other ridiculous screw-ups. The last thing I'd want is another avenue for them to screw up my financial transactions.

        If you have a way of making payments that's currently working for you, my advice is to stick with it.
    • Why didn't you fill a travel plan in advance? Do you have something to hide, citizen?
    • Well, from what I hear, the most common thing to do after you steal someone's plastic is to check it out by going a ways off and then trying to buy gas with it. Gas stations are more about getting you through quickly than card security, and the preliminary $1 charge is pretty much guaranteed to go through if the card is valid. So unfortunately, going somewhere unusual to buy gas happens to make you look a lot like a card thief to the computers.
  • TextPayMe? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MostlyHarmless (75501) <artdent@freeshAUDENell.org minus poet> on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @10:40PM (#14977920)
    It sounds like they're placing themselves squarely as the 800-pound-gorilla against TextPayMe [textpayme.com] -- one of the Y Combinator [ycombinator.com]-funded startups. This may be interesting for both parties.
  • This is going to be a boon for tech-savvy thugs. Now you don't even have to lead a guy to his ATM at gunpoint anymore.
  • From TFA:

    After you activate your phone, you can send money one of two ways:

    * Text to 729725 (PAYPAL) with the amount and recipient's phone number.

    Example: send 5 to 4150001234

    Or * Call 1-800-4PAYPAL (1-800-472-9725) and follow the instructions.

    Sounds easy, I could see merchants (or vending machines) having barcodes that you take a picture of and do this all automatically. I do wonder though, what happens if someone else is using your phone, I don't see where you'd endter a pin or password, s

    • I don't see where you'd endter a pin or password, sounds sketchy.

      It calls you back a few seconds after you press SEND for you to enter your pin. It addresses you by name, I just tested it by sending some money to my wife's phone - confused the hell out of her (she *was* sitting beside me) cuz I didn't tell her what I was doing ... now I need to sign her up for a PayPal account.

  • by tokengeekgrrl (105602) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @11:07PM (#14978020)
    Cell phone traffic isn't encrypted, is it? Couldn't someone spoof someone else's phone number and have them send money to them and then they disable the account as soon as they've collected?

    When you consider the lengths that identity thieves and phishing scams will go to, it's not completely unfeasible.

    But I could be completely on crack so if what I'm saying is completely ludicrous, please disregard.

    - tokengeekgrrl
    • Its encrypted. Encryption is done via the SIM-card number to the base station.

    • Well, yes they are. But does it really matter? If the encryption is too difficult to break, then much easier ways exist [viruses, con artists, phishing, etc].. After all, nobody today downloads ringtones or plays games on their cell phone...

      Besides, I remember hearing that the encryption was blatantly crippled with digital cell phones when they first came out. Not sure if anything was improved or not.
    • Spoofing the originating phone number could only be done from inside the carrier's network (difficult in itself, especially if you're intended to not be traceable), and someone else mentioned they do a callback to the originating number to ask for your PIN, so you'd have to be able to intercept the call and know the PIN also to do it.

      So should be okay.

    • The gist of sending money from the phone appears to work like this:

      1. You text message them or call an 800 number and tell the system to send money to another phone number.
      2. The system calls you back and asks you for a PIN for confirmation. You put in the PIN.
      3. Money gets sent.

      Activating the service to work from your phone in the first place requires a) A paypal account, and b) for you to do the whole PIN confirmation thing once to get the idea of it and make sure that you have the phone and that they can
  • Using manual entry for cards is old news. Companies like Aircharge (Aircharge.com) have been doing it for 5+ years, and currently have serial swipers and printers that allow mobile card present transactions that offer better rates for companies. It also allows you to print out the reciept right there, add a tip, and print duplicates. This still may be useful for simple person to person transactions.
  • Just think, in a year or so local businesses might start supporting this, allowing you to pull out your phone and pay for goods, just like that!
    • Just think, in a year or so local businesses might start supporting this, allowing you to pull out your phone and pay for goods, just like that!

      I just tested it. It takes longer than swiping a debit card and typing in a PIN. It'll be useful in some situations though.

  • Why not? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @11:21PM (#14978090) Homepage
    PayPal has gone mobile.

    Why not. Everything else about my cell phone is designed to suck money out of my wallet.

  • TextPayMe [textpayme.com] has been doing the same thing for a while now and it works pretty well for me. Paypal has too many horror stories for me to want to use them. I'd prefer that they have some successful competitor that forces them to improve. They need successful competition in this mobile market place, otherwise it will become just like the online marketplace where their customer service suffers and they can lock accounts at will because, well, you don't really have many other options.

    No PayPal for me, I'll be usin
  • by aralin (107264)
    If I remember correctly, you could pay with a mobile phone since 1998 in developed countries. I am pretty sure that teens in Czech Republic would laugh at the things you consider "new features" as something that surely existed before they had been born. The state of mobile market in US is indeed pathetic.
  • Direct Linkage (Score:4, Informative)

    by RickPartin (892479) * on Wednesday March 22, 2006 @11:46PM (#14978190) Homepage
    Please Slashdot link to the article and not the front page KTHX. Here is the direct link for people reading this in the future. http://mobilecrunch.com/2006/03/22/paypal-goes-mob ile/ [mobilecrunch.com]
  • What I would like to see is the ability to take a credit card for payment over the phone. There are some services that offer something similar... So, if I could say use the virtual terminal to have someone pay me for a transaction (think flea market or the like), or even call into a number and enter the payment info over the phone... that would be worth talking about.
  • The original PayPal was a Palm app, that let you beam money back and forth between your friends. Say bob picked up the bill, mary could beam 3 bucks to him to pick up her Latte. I think I have $5 of money beamed to me someplace i can't pick up.

    The problem it was too clunky. You could get real money, but you'd have to have a computer, connected to the palm, and the internet. You'd upload your transactions, backing it with your credit card account.

    Eventually PayPal learned that the clunkiest part was gett
  • ... and that is that paypal simply sucks.

    No, their service is kind of solid but...

    You'll never want to be a merchant with paypal and get frauded/scammed or so forth... in fact, not as a customer neither. You'll never see your cash again... In fact, you'll never hear of customer support neither...
    Oh yeah, and apparently "No one" gets the cash, in this case, the no one is Paypal.

    (I've had this happen, somebody buys some stuff of me with stolen paypal info. This is shortly catched and paypal is informed etc.
  • I don't like the idea of sending money with just a text message (SMS). We have built a fully working prototype using barcodes on mobile screens. The user has to enter a pin code in order to display his ID as a barcode that get scanned. In this case we're running a small shop. This is not a transaction from user to user but this can easily be adapted as long as there is a remote server using a data connection that handles the actual transaction. There are quite a few advantages to using an application: enhan
  • Micropayments using cell phones is a great idea, but I see I'm not the only one who thinks Paypal's solution is an underwhelming mess, especially when much better solutions are right on the horizon. I've been beta testing a mobile money solution for a few weeks now from a startup called Obopay, and from what I've seen it's a much smarter solution than what TextPayMe offers, or even what Paypal is offering here. It's really all about creating a robust, simple to use solution, and using text messages for mo
    • Whoops, that should look like this:

      Micropayments using cell phones is a great idea, but I see I'm not the only one who thinks Paypal's solution is an underwhelming mess, especially when much better solutions are right on the horizon.

      I've been beta testing a mobile money solution for a few weeks now from a startup called Obopay, and from what I've seen it's a much smarter solution than what TextPayMe offers, or even the service that Paypal is preparing to offer.

      It's really all about creating a robust, simple
  • Avoid paypal if you can. They are not a bank and so are not regulated in a way banks are. When signing up you basically agree that they can do with your money what they want, like freezing your account, fining you or whatever. Of course, they decide what surpicious activity is. I think a judge should decide if this is to be done, not some employee of paypal.

    For example they held back a lot of donated money for Katrina victims:

    Click [somethingawful.com]
  • I meant to verify that you are actually you, not someone who stole your phone/callerID/ESN etc ? I did not see it anywhere I looked so far. As we all know know, caller ID and ESN are just jokes in the hands of real hackers and can be duplicated without much effort if you have the right hardware. What will prevent this kind of activity of syphooning money out of your account with hacked cell phones or what kind of guarantee are they going to provide to the victims of such activity ??
  • Spamcop.net is still free for reporting but it gives extra features when you pay, especially when you have mail account there.

    I reported every single paypal phishing mail to Paypal. Paypal was even refusing them for sometime, they reenabled them.

    As I have guts (in fact, since I use OS X) I kept on checking the sites I reported using report history feature. Even after a WEEK later, the phishing sites were well and alive asking for paypal account details.

    98% of users has no sort of "sense of security" on Mobi
  • This will be interesting! Perhaps finally an end to cold hard cash!
  • Well, after seeing this article, I figured I'd try out their service. I have a business account with paypal (had a personal account for years, business account for less than 6 months) and I thought this would be easy enough to set up. I was wrong. The website portion was fine, I added a pin number for the confirmation call, the first 20 times I tried to get them to call me... nothing happened on my end. 21st time, the call came through but the quality was awful. Finally I tried again, and the calls started

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