Hey Buddy, Can You Bump Me A Buck?

When the Internet started to become a place of commerce, there was a need for a way to perform financial transactions. PayPal came into existence as a way to meet that need for performing financial transactions on the Internet, and it is now branching out to meet a need for performing financial transactions between mobile phones. With PayPal’s mobile money application, two iPhone users can transfer money between their PayPay accounts by simply bumping their iPhones together. At CTIA PayPal announced that they will be providing their mobile money application for Android and Blackberry in the next two to three months.

In addition to transferring money between PayPal accounts, users can also manage their PayPal account using the mobile money application on their phone. The application can also be used to transfer contact information between two phones. To provide the communication between the two iPhones, PayPal is using an API from bump technologies, makers of the free bump application for iPhone and Android phones. The application uses sensors on the phone to detect when two phones are bumped together by communicating information to a server running an algorithm that can determine which two phones bumped into each other. Once the match is made the server then facilitates the communication between the two phones. The “bump functionality” should work between any two phones that have the application, so an Android and iPhone user can bump money between each other.

PayPal recognizes that for the mobile money application to gain wide use, it has to be on as many mobile platforms as possible. A bigger challenge is getting enough people to use PayPal because to use the application both parties also need to have PayPal accounts. It remains to be seen whether people want to use their mobile phones to transfer money when it is just as easy to pull a buck out of their wallet.