PayPal’s plan to morph itself into a “super app” has been given a go for launch. According to PayPal CEO Dan Schulman, speaking to investors during this week’s second-quarter earnings call, the initial version of PayPal’s new consumer digital wallet app is now “code complete,” and the company is preparing to ramp up slowly. Over the next several months, PayPal expects to be fully ramped up in the U.S., with new payment services, financial services, commerce, and shopping tools arriving every quarter.
The company has spoken for some time about its “super app” ambitions — a shift in product direction that would make PayPal a U.S.-based version of something like China’s WeChat or Alipay or India’s Paytm. Like those apps, PayPal aims to offer a host of consumer services under one roof, beyond just mobile payments.
In previous quarters, PayPal said these new features may include enhanced direct deposit, check cashing, budgeting tools, bill pay, crypto support, subscription management, and buy now, pay later functionality. It also said it would integrate commerce, thanks to the mobile shopping tools acquired through its $4 billion Honey acquisition in 2019.
So far, PayPal has continued to run Honey as a standalone application, website, and browser extension. Still, the super app could incorporate more of its deal-finding functions, price-tracking features, and other benefits.
On Wednesday’s earnings call, Schulman revealed the super app would have a few other features as well, including high-yield savings, early access to direct deposit funds, and messaging functionality outside of peer-to-peer payments — meaning you could chat with family and friends directly through the app’s user interface.
PayPal hadn’t announced its plans to include a messaging component until now, but the feature makes sense in how people often combine chat and peer-to-peer payments today. For example, someone may want to make a personal request for the funds instead of sending an automated request through an app. Or, after receiving payment, a user may wish to respond with a “thank you” or other acknowledgment. Currently, these conversations take place outside of the payment app itself on platforms like iMessage. Now, that could change.
“We think that’s going to drive a lot of engagement on the platform,” said Schulman. “You don’t have to leave the platform to message back and forth.” With the increased user engagement, the company expects to see a bump in average revenue per active account.
Schulman also hinted at “additional crypto capabilities,” which were not detailed. However, PayPal earlier this month increased the crypto purchase limit from $20,000 to $100,000 for eligible PayPal customers in the U.S., with no annual purchase limit. This year, the company made it possible for consumers to check out millions of online businesses using their cryptocurrencies by first converting the crypto to cash then settling with the merchant in U.S. dollars.
Though the app’s code is now complete, Schulman said the plan is to continue to iterate on the product experience, noting that the initial version will not be “the be-all and end-all.” Instead, the app will see steady releases and new functionality quarterly.
However, he did say that early on, the new features would include the high-yield savings, improved bill pay with a better user experience, and more billers and aggregators, as well as early access to direct deposit, budgeting tools, and the new two-way messaging feature.