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Meet the mobile payment services vying to replace your wallet

Anthony Domanico | Sept. 4, 2014
Forget fit tech. Wave goodbye to wearables. The next great frontier in mobile might just be your wallet.

What it's best suited for: PayPal's really all about mobile payments. Aside from Google Wallet, it's the only service that can actually replace your wallet somewhat. If you want a service that manages your gift cards, loyalty cards, and event and airline tickets, PayPal is not the right app for you. If, however, you want a wallet solution that's accepted at several big box retailers like Home Depot, Babies R' Us, American Eagle, and some local restaurants, you may want to give PayPal a go.

How you use it: To use PayPal, you'll need to log into your account with your PayPal credentials, and add a bank account if you haven't done so already. The main screen gives you several options for managing your account, from viewing recent activity to transferring money from your bank account to your PayPal balance.

But the real meat comes from the Shop section, which you can access via a button at the top left-hand corner of the app. The Shop menu lets you view local retailers and restaurants that accept PayPal payments. Some restaurants will actually let you order right off their menu for delivery, settling your tab with PayPal so you don't have to mess with receipts, signatures, and tips when your food arrives. For all other retailers, you just tell the cashier you're paying with PayPal, type in your mobile phone number and PIN, and sit back as your payment goes through.

Where it's accepted: In-store mobile payments with PayPal are accepted at 1.9 million retailers around the US; the PayPal app lets you search for locations near you. In a 5-mile radius around my office, for example, several boutique stores; mall staples like Abercrombie, American Eagle, and Hollister; and big box retailers like Home Depot and Babies R' Us all let me pay with PayPal. The selection of stores seems fairly broad, so there's a good chance your favorite local retailer will accept a mobile PayPal payment.


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