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, the initial version of PayPal’s new consumer digital wallet app is now “code complete,” and the company is preparing to slowly ramp up. Over the next several months, PayPal expects to be fully ramped 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 these 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 from 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 include 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.