PayPal has released an updated app that allows users to settle up restaurant bills or order ahead without ever removing their eyes from the smart phone screen.
The free app, which is available on both iOS and Android devices, offers a check-in option for eligible restaurants and cafes – click through and you'll be able to view and pay your bill and even leave a tip.
"We’ve also vastly improved the in-store shopping experience," PayPal's Hill Ferguson wrote on the company blog. "The PayPal app has a new tab called ‘Shop’, which you can use to find shops or restaurants nearby that accept PayPal payments. You can then 'check in' and open a tab with just a swipe. You can change how you want to pay right on the "check in" screen, meaning you’ve really got access to your entire wallet in the app."
So is the new app any good? Well, VentureBeat's Devindra Hardawar recently accompanied PayPal’s Anuj Nayar to several Manhattan eateries, during which time Mr. Hardawar got a chance to try out the new software. For the most part, it worked pretty well – Hardawar was able to place an advance order for cookies and pay a bill via the PayPal app.
"With the new apps and support from more businesses," he writes, "what once seemed like a pipe dream for PayPal – the idea that people can just forget about their wallets and manage their payments with their phones – feels within reach."
But in an interview with The Associated Press, Forrester Research analyst Denee Carrington expressed a little skepticism that people would immediately ditch their wallets in favor of the PayPal app. "People are not struggling with paying. They don't need an easier way to pay. Paying with your card isn't hard," she said.