Voice PayPal Via Siri the Latest Push for Mobile Payments

November 16, 2016 - 2 minutes read

Mobile payments have made slow progress when it comes to winning over daily, mainstream app users. Promotions from major mobile apps like Uber have helped, and vendors have been glad to jump on board, with most major retailers accepting Apple Pay and Android Pay at this point. For iPhone app developers, though, it’s still been slow, largely relegated to the status of PayPal — a convenient option, but not the go-to choice for most users.

A new feature baked into Siri signals that there might be a brighter future for mobile payments, not from encouraging in-store use, but by incorporating mobile payments into voice assistants like Siri, Google Now, and others. Apple’s app development team has made PayPal payments available directly via voice command, paving the path for developers to lower the friction to payments. Voice command apps have taken off in a big way this year, with the Amazon Echo just one of many success stories in the audio-first app boom, driven in large part by artificial intelligence advances.

The emphasis so far as Siri goes is on peer-to-peer payments, launched strategically for the holiday season, which is heavy on social spending. Users will see a confirmation screen which accepts verbal or touch input, similar to the screen that acts as the gatekeeper to finance-free actions like adding calendar events, setting timers, and controlling other third-party app integrations. In addition to sending payments, users can use the feature to send peer-to-peer invoices and reminders to friends and family.

The feature is part of a promising third-party extension system growing within the assistant, which will make it much more competitive with Google Now while opening up interesting opportunities for NYC iOS app developers.

Payment requests, ride requests, wearable integrations and photo search are just a few of the ways iOS app developers can profit on the forward momentum of voice-controlled smartphone use.

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