Last year, Braintree began offering a new one-touch payment service to mobile app developers that let their customers check out and pay for goods or services using identity and financial credentials already stored in its Venmo wallet. The problem was Venmo is hardly a well-known consumer app, used mainly by a younger set for transfer funds between peers.
But starting this week, Braintree’s new owners eBay are taking Venmo Touch technology and applying it to a very well known consumer app, PayPal. As part of the launch of PayPal and Braintree’s new integrated developer program, app designers can now put a “PayPal Touch” button in their apps that will instantly authorize a mobile transaction, said Braintree CEO Bill Ready, who now also heads up mobile development for PayPal.
While people are increasingly shopping on their mobile phones and tablets, the rate at which people actually finalize a purchase is still much lower on mobile compared to a PC web browser, Ready said. Part of the problem is consumers don’t want to go through the hassle of entering their credit card and billing info on mobile phone. By reducing the amount of steps to pull that purchase trigger, m-commerce can truly take off, Ready said.
Just as Venmo Touch is linked to Venmo app, the new one-touch PayPal feature will be linked to the PayPal app. When customers download or update the app, they will be asked if they want to enable one-touch payments. Assuming they do, users will then be prompted to link apps that accept PayPal to their accounts. Once those apps are authorized, Ready said, consumers will be able to purchase anything from those apps without being asked to enter credit card data, personal info or even a password.
The process may be much easier, but it also doesn’t put many security barriers in the way if someone breaks into your mobile phone. Even making an iTunes purchase on an iPhone requires entering your Apple ID password.
Ready, however, said there will be fraud detection measures running in the background. If any kind of suspicious purchase is detected, such as a large purchase amount or any kind of unusual buying behavior, PayPal will start asking security questions to verify the buyer’s identity.