PayPal now supports Siri for voice-powered payments

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Ken Wolter
PayPal, the venerable payment platform of more than 192 million users, has just made it easier to part with your hard-earned dollars. On Thursday, the firm announced integration with Apple’s Siri voice assistant on iOS, allowing overeager iPhone and iPad owners to send money to their friends via voice.

It’s quite intuitive. You can request money from that fickle roommate who always seems to disappear come rent time by getting Siri’s attention — “Hey Siri” — followed by a simple command: “request $50 from Bob using PayPal.” Conversely, you can send some spending money to your second cousin whose birthday you forgot by saying, for example, “send $50 to Julia using PayPal.” Your context doesn’t even have to be that perfect — as long as you include the word “PayPal” in your command and the payer or payee inhabits your contact list, Siri will handle slang and shorthand without complaint. “PayPal John $5” and “Pass Alan $11 with PayPal” will work just as well as the more formal commands.

And recipients needn’t use PayPal. When you send them cash, they’ll receive an email with links to login to an existing account or create a new one. Once they click either and attach a bank account, they’ll have the option of withdrawing the funds.

The new feature is rolling out to users in more than 30 countries, PayPal said, including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, and the United States. The list of supported languages includes French, Dutch, English, Finnish, Cantonese, Hebrew, Malay, Arabic, German, Italian, and Arabic.

The new Siri integration comes as mobile transactions grow. PayPal said that, last year, it processed $41 billion in peer-to-peer payments. And it expects that number to grow: in December of this year alone, it’s projecting more than 17 million PayPal users will send funds to and request money from one another.

PayPal is not the first money-transferring app to support Siri. Square Cash and Monzo, a U.K. bank, actually beat it to the punch.

And PayPal is far from the first to tap Siri. As part of iOS 10, the latest version of Apple’s mobile operating system, the iPhone maker introduced third-party Siri integration. It works with six categories of applications — ride booking (e.g., Uber), messaging (Vine), photo search (Google Photos), workouts (Fitbit), VoIP calling (Skype), and payments — and it operates seamlessly, for the most part. Siri takes care of the heavy lifting where speech is concerned, handling voice recognition and the interpretation of verbalized queries. And it provides a means for apps to reply to responses with a rich user interface: WeChat, for example, shows an inline preview of the message you’re about to send.

Taking advantage of PayPal’s new integration is as easy as updating to the latest version of the iOS app.

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