PayPal Lets Apps Accept Credit Card Payments

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Online payment processing giant PayPal—oened by eBay—has officially launched Guest Payments, a new way for developers of Web-based and mobile applications to accept credit card payments via PayPal’s Adaptive Payments API. Here’s the interesting part: Guest Payments enables customers to pay for goods or services using their credit cards without requiring those customers to open a PayPal account and set themselves up with PayPal service.

The new capability simplifies the process of enabling customers to make purchases via apps that support PayPal: PayPal no longer has to get in the middle of the transaction between a customer and a developer, eliminating complication and customer confusion—customers are more likely to complete a purchase if they don’t have to be PayPal members first. The program also makes it easier for startups and small businesses to begin accepting payments via credit cards.

The move is part of a larger push on the part of the payment processing industry to reach out to people’s mobile phones and devices—and, thereby, into their wallets and bank accounts. PayPal isn’t the first online payment processor to go down this road: MasterCard announced last month it would release open APIs for developers so they could hook up their apps to credit card processing later this year. The move is a major shift for MasterCard, which has previously held its payment processing and data services as a proprietary operation.