Архив рубрики: eCommerce

PayPal details its digital wallet plans for 2021, including crypto, Honey integration and more

PayPal this week laid out its vision for the future of its digital wallet platform and its PayPal and Venmo apps. During its third-quarter earnings call on Monday, the company said it plans to roll out substantial changes to its mobile apps over the next year to integrate a range of new features, including enhanced direct deposit, check cashing, budgeting tools, bill pay, crypto support, subscription management, buy now/pay later functionality and all of Honey’s shopping tools.
While PayPal had spoken in the past about bringing Honey’s capabilities into PayPal, CEO Dan Schulman detailed the integrations PayPal has in store for the deal-finding platform it bought last year for $4 billion, as well as a timetable for both this and the other app updates it has in store.
The Honey acquisition had brought 17 million monthly active users to PayPal. These users turned to Honey’s browser extension and mobile app to find the best savings on items they want to buy, track prices and more.

But today, the Honey experience still remains separate from PayPal itself. That’s something the company wants to change next year.
According to Schulman, the company’s apps will be updated to include Honey’s shopping tools, like its Wish List feature that allows you to track items you want to buy, price monitoring tools that alert you to savings and price drops, plus its deals, coupons and rewards. These tools will become part of PayPal’s checkout solution itself.
That means the company will be able to track the customer from the initial deal-hunting phase where they’re indicating their interest in a certain product, target them with savings and offers, then guide them through its checkout experience all in one place.
PayPal will also provide “anonymous demand data” to merchants based on consumer engagement with Honey’s tools to help them drive sales, the company said.
What’s more, PayPal put timeline on the Honey integrations and the other updates it plans to roll out over the course of the next year.
Bill Pay will start to roll out this month, PayPal said, with a large redesign of the digital wallet experience expected for the first half of 2021. Much of the new functionality will be arriving in the second quarter and the second half of the year, with a goal of having the majority of the changes rolled out by the end of next year.
This also includes PayPal’s plans for cryptocurrencies, announced at the end of October. The company aims to support Bitcoin, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash and Litecoin at first, initially in the U.S.

PayPal to let you buy and sell cryptocurrencies in the US

Speaking to investors during the earnings call, Schulman also noted when PayPal plans to bring crypto to more users and geographies. He said the ability to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrencies will first arrive in the U.S., then will roll out to international markets and the Venmo app in the first half of next year. (Currently, PayPal is offering U.S. users to join a waitlist for the new crypto features in-app).

Image Credits: PayPal

This change will allow PayPal’s users to shop using cryptocurrencies across the company’s 28 million merchants without requiring additional integrations on merchants’ part. The company explained this is due to how it will handle the settlement process, where users will be able to instantaneously transfer crypto into fiat currency at a set rate when checking out with PayPal merchants.
“This solution will not involve any additional integrations, volatility risk or incremental transaction fees for either consumers or merchants, and will fundamentally bolster the utility of cryptocurrencies,” said Schulman. “This is just the beginning of the opportunities we see as we work hand in hand with regulators to accept new forms of digital currencies,” he added.
PayPal also recently joined the “buy now, pay later” race with its new “Pay in 4” installment program that lets consumers split purchases into four payments. This debuted in France ahead of its late August U.S. launch and has since rolled out to the U.K. (as Pay in 3). This too, will become more integrated into the company’s apps in the months ahead.

PayPal joins the ‘buy now, pay later’ race with new ‘Pay in 4’ installment program

Venmo — which the company expects to reach $900 million in revenues next year — will see the expansion of business profiles, and will gain crypto capabilities, more basic financial tools and shopping tools, as well as a revamp of the “Pay with Venmo” checkout experience.
Schulman referred to the company’s plans to overhaul its Venmo and PayPal apps as a “fundamental transformation,” due to how much new functionality they will include as the changes roll out over the next year as well as the new user experience — basically, a redesign — that will allow people to move easily from one experience to the next instead of having to change apps or use a desktop browser, for example.
PayPal’s earnings hadn’t excited Wall Street investors this week, sending the stock down on its lack of 2021 guidance. But the year ahead for PayPal’s digital wallet apps looks to be an interesting one.

PayPal’s earnings don’t excite Wall Street, but bring good news for consumer fintech

 

PayPal details its digital wallet plans for 2021, including crypto, Honey integration and more

Current and upcoming trends in Latin America’s mobile growth

Jen Laloup
Contributor

Jen Laloup is CEO of Mobile Growth Association.

Latin America (LATAM) is home to one of the fastest-growing mobile markets in the world. In 2018, there were 326 million mobile internet users in the region, and that figure is anticipated to increase to over 422 million users by 2025. Part of the reason for such exponential growth is that mobile is the main tool for internet access in Latin America, providing a portable way for people living in rural areas to get online. The social media boom and rise in messaging platforms in recent years have also spurred demand for optimized mobile services.
As mobile penetration continues in LATAM, it is facilitating innovative apps that promote opportunities for social mobility, financial control, access to overseas markets and societal development. And while a difference in maturity levels and local regulations dictates the mobile landscape for individual countries, there are visible trends throughout the region.
These trends are both reactions to LATAM’s unique mobile conditions and broader international influences, so can be telling of future mobile user expectations and behaviors. By recognizing and assimilating these trends, new mobile apps and services can disrupt the market in a more meaningful way.
Here are the current and upcoming trends of mobile growth across Latin America:
Digital wallets
Approximately 70% of Latin America’s population is unbanked or underbanked, meaning there is a huge opportunity to improve financial access. One emerging solution is digital wallets, which work via top-ups and don’t require a bank account with a physical company or branch to set up. Digital wallets, therefore, bypass the mistrust that many Latin Americans have around official banking institutions.
COVID-19 has certainly contributed to the heightened demand for mobile wallets in LATAM. As a predominantly cash-driven location, concerns about handling paper money have been confirmed as new studies reveal that the virus can survive on physical currency for 28 days. In turn, masses of citizens and consumers have begun looking for safer alternatives to cash. In Mexico, digital wallets are thought to occupy a 27.7% share of the business-to-consumer e-commerce payments market by 2021, while Argentina has also been showing high in-store use of digital wallets during the pandemic.
Over in Venezuela, AirTM’s digital wallet has been processing funds promised by interim President Guaidó to essential workers. The company has been instrumental in delivering the money to healthcare staff after the Maduro regime blocked the provider operating in the country. Beyond financial aid, digital wallets in Venezuela and other countries with high inflation rates mean locals don’t have to carry large amounts of bills and coins with them.

Current and upcoming trends in Latin America’s mobile growth

$75M weed giant Caliva ditches Eaze, launches delivery

It’s a brutal time for marijuana startups. I’m hearing some are raising at 1/5th of their 2019 valuation amidst rampant competition, tall taxes, and slow legalization. The struggles for marijuana’s best-known startup, delivery service Eaze, continue as today it’s losing one of its top partners. $75 million-funded weed brand empire Caliva has dropped Eaze in favor of launching its own delivery system.
By partnering with Hypur banking to solve the marijuana payments legality issue, Caliva will be able to accept contactless mobile payments unlike Eaze that it claims usually requires customers pay in cash. [Update: Eaze claims the majority of payments come via debit cards]. Caliva buyers won’t have to worry about trips to the ATM, especially now during COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders, which the startup expects will boost their average order volume. Combined with verticalizing delivery in-house plus its retail and wholesale operations, Caliva hopes it can grow its margins and survive this long winter for weed startups.

“Our mission at Caliva has always been to provide safe and easy access to plant-based solutions for health, happiness and healing,” said Caliva CEO Dennis O’Malley. “Together with Hypur, we are proud to offer our customers safe, compliant and convenient cashless payment options to improve and modernize their purchasing experience.” It hasn’t been so easy for Eaze, though.
Back in January, we reported that Eaze was in trouble, having suffered unannounced layoffs and executive departures. It burned cash on billboards, and never launched the services of a startup it acquired. There were questions about data security, and weed brands dropped Eaze due to delayed payments. It was almost out of money and in danger of vaporizing. It luckily managed to secure a $15 million bridge round to keep it alive plus a $20 million Series D in February just before the COVID hit the fan, though I dread to think of the terms of that funding.

Troubled Eaze finally closes $35M funding to sell its own cannabis

The plan for Eaze was to verticalize, buying and developing brands that it could sell through its existing delivery service to up its margins. Now it’s seeing former partner Caliva do the reverse, launching a delivery service to sell its own Fun Uncle, Deli, and Caliva brands as well as distribute other vape, edible, and flower brands like Dosist and Kiva. Its menu breadth to attract customers and in-house brands to drive profits could be a winning combo. After limited pilots in SoCal, Caliva delivery is launching in LA and the Bay Area.
Unfortunately, traditional payment processors usually refuse to work with marijuana companies for fear of legal repercussions. That’s why most delivery services can’t accept credit or debit cards, or do so through sketchy legal workarounds that have led payment providers to be sued. Others like CanPay only offer ACH transfers, while Square only works with CBD sellers. “We spent time researching and evaluating all platforms that accept cannabis payments in the U.S., and found that Hypur has the best security, compliance and consumer experience” O’Malley tells me.

400-person Caliva is now trying to raise a Series B, but may experience tough headwinds with shelter-in-place orders in effect in states where marijuana is legal. Stiff taxes on marijuana have meanwhile helped the black market continue to thrive, as California’s $3.1 billion in legal 2019 sales were overshadowed by an estimated $8.7 billion in illegal sales. Faster delivery and simpler payments could help. But enthusiasm for the industry has dwindled following the initial flood of entrants sought to exploit the end of prohibition. Is the Green Rush over?

$75M weed giant Caliva ditches Eaze, launches delivery

Robinhood offers $15 discount, blames outage on record trades

It wasn’t the leap year, a coding blip, or a hack that caused Robinhood’s massive outages yesterday and today that left customers unable to trade stocks. Instead, the co-CEOs write that “the cause of the outage was stress on our infrastructure — which struggled with unprecedented load. That in turn led to a “thundering herd” effect — triggering a failure of our DNS system.”
Robinhood was offline from Monday at 6:30am Pacific to 11pm Pacific, then had another outage this morning from 6:30am Pacific until just before 9am Pacific.
The $912 million-funded fintech giant will provide compensation to all customers of its Robinhood Gold premium subscription for borrowing money to trade plus access to Morningstar research reports, Nasdaq data, and bigger instant deposits. It’s offering them three months of service.
A month of Robinhood Gold costs $5 plus 5% yearly interest on borrowing above $1,000, charged daily. Before a pricing change, the flat fee per month could range as high as $200. However, compensated users will only get the $5 off per month, for a total of $15. That could seem woefully insufficient if Robinhood users missed out on buying back into stocks like Apple that went up over 9% on Monday. Robinhood is calling it a “first step”.
Impacted Robinhood users can contact the company here to ask for compensation. Below you can see the email Robinhood sent to custoemrs late last night.
Robinhood’s email to customers late last night
Robinhood is also working to contact impacted customers on a individual basis, and it’s looking into other forms of compensation on a case by case basis, company spokesperson Jack Randall tells me. It’s unclear if that might include cash to offset what traders might have lost by having their money locked in inaccessible Robinhood accounts during the outage.
Compensation could become a significant cost if the startup assesses that many of its 10 million users were impacted. The markets gained a record $1.1 trillion yesterday, but some Robinhood traders may not have been able to buy back in as the rebound occurred following mass selloffs due to fears of coronavirus.

Down again, Robinhood will offer ‘case-by-case’ compensation for its outage on the day markets gained $1.1 trillion

Now the startup, valued at $7.6 billion, will have to try to regain users’ trust. “When it comes to your money, we know how important it is for you to have answers. The outages you have experienced over the last two days are not acceptable and we want to share an update on the current situation . . . We worked as quickly as possible to restore service, but it took us a while. Too long” wrote co-founders and co-CEO Baiju Bhatt and Vlad Tenev [disclosure: who I know from college].
As for exactly what triggered the downtime, the founders write that “Multiple factors contributed to the unprecedented load that ultimately led to the outages. The factors included, among others, highly volatile and historic market conditions; record volume; and record account sign-ups.” There’s been a frenzy of retail trading activity in the wake of coronavirus. There’s also been sudden spikes in stocks like Tesla amidst mainstream media attention. 

Going forward, Robinhood promises to “work to improve the resilience of our infrastructure to meet the heightened load we have been experiencing. We’re simultaneously working to reduce the interdependencies in our overall infrastructure. We’re also investing in additional redundancies in our infrastructure.” However, they warn that “we may experience additional brief outages, but we’re now better positioned to more quickly resolve them.”
The outage comes at a vulnerable time for Robinhood as oldschool brokerages like Charles Schwab, Ameritrade, and Etrade all recently moved to eliminate per-trade fees to match Robinhood’s pioneering zero-comission trades. Though some of those brokerages experienced infrastructure troubles recently, Robinhood massive outages could push users towards those incumbents that they might perceive as more stable. 

Robinhood offers $15 discount, blames outage on record trades

Venmo prototypes a debit card for teenagers

Allowance is going digital. Venmo has been spotted prototyping a new feature that would allow adult users to create for their teenage children a debit card connected to their account. That could potentially let parents set spending notifications and limits while giving kids more flexibility in urgent situations than a few dollars stuffed in a pocket.
Delving into children’s banking could establish a new reason for adults to sign up for Venmo, get them saving more in Venmo debit accounts where the company can earn interest on the cash and drive purchase frequency that racks up interchange fees for Venmo’s owner PayPal .

But Venmo is arriving late to the teen debit card market. Startups like Greenlight and Step let parents manage teen spending on dedicated debit cards. More companies like Kard and neo banking giant Revolut have announced plans to launch their own versions. And Venmo’s prototype uses very similar terminology to that of Current, a frontrunner in the children’s banking space with over 500,000 accounts that raised a $20 million Series B late last year.
The first signs of Venmo’s debit card were spotted by reverse engineering specialist Jane Manchun Wong, who has provided slews of accurate tips to TechCrunch in the past. Hidden in Venmo’s Android app is code revealing a “delegate card” feature, designed to let users create a debit card that’s connected to their account but has limited privileges.
A screenshot generated from hidden code in Venmo’s app, via Jane Manchun Wong
A set-up screen Wong was able to generate from the code shows the option to “Enter your teen’s info,” because “We’ll use this to set up the debit card.” It asks parents to enter their child’s name, birth date and “What does your teen call you?” That’s almost identical to the “What does [your child’s name] call you?” set-up screen for Current’s teen debit card.

When TechCrunch asked about the teen debit feature and when it might launch, a Venmo spokesperson gave a cagey response that implies it’s indeed internally testing the option, writing “Venmo is constantly working to identify ways to refine and enhance the user experience. We frequently test product offerings to understand the value it could have for our users, and I don’t have anything further to share right now.”
Typically, the tech company product development flow sees them come up with ideas, mock them up, prototype them in their real apps as internal-only features, test them externally with small percentages of real users, then launch them officially if feedback and data is positive throughout. It’s unclear when Venmo might launch teen debit cards, though the product could always be scrapped. It’d need to move fast to beat Revolut and Kard to market.
Current’s teen debit card
The launch would build upon the June 2018 launch of Venmo’s branded Mastercard debit card that’s monetized through interchange fees and interest on savings. It offers payment receipts with options to split charges with friends within Venmo, free withdrawls at MoneyPass ATMs, rewards and in-app features for reseting your PIN or disabling a stolen card. Venmo also plans to launch a credit card issued by Synchrony this year.
Venmo might look to equip its teen debit card with popular features from competitors, like automatic weekly allowance deposits, notifications of all purchases or the ability to block spending at certain merchants. It’s unclear if it will charge a fee like the $36 per year subscription for Current.
Current offers these features for parents who set up a teen debit card
Tech startups are increasingly pushing to offer a broad range of financial services where margins are high. It’s an easy way to earn cheap money at a time when unit economics are coming under scrutiny in the wake of the WeWork implosion. Investors are pinning their hopes on efficient financial services too, pouring $34 billion into fintech startups during 2019.
Venmo’s already become a popular way for younger people to split the bill for Uber rides or dinner. Bringing social banking to a teen demographic probably should have been its plan all along.

Venmo prototypes a debit card for teenagers