PayPal launches mobile-checkout service

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Eyeing the small but growing number of consumers using their cell phones to make purchases, PayPal has launched Mobile Checkout.

The new service from the eBay division enables consumers in the US, UK and Canada to visit a merchant's Web site and purchase items by clicking on the PayPal button, all from their mobile device.

"We see that more people are using the mobile Web," said Jamie Patricio, public relations manager for PayPal, about the decision to launch the new service. "We think that in 2007 and 2008 more people will be adopting and using this sort of commerce," she continued.

The mobile Web service joins a text-message-based payment service that PayPal introduced in April 2006, which allows consumers to buy, donate or send money using a text-message-based service from their mobile devices.

"It's about providing more options for our users," Patricio said, adding that users who are familiar with PayPal from their PCs are likely to gravitate toward the new mobile Web service while those who are more comfortable text messaging will use the earlier service.

The news follows San Jose, CA-based eBay's recent launch of Kijiji, an online classifieds Web site in the US, and is another way that the online auction site is attempting to broaden its reach.

After customers click on the checkout with PayPal link on a Web site, they are transferred to PayPal, where they log in, review and select their payment method and correct shipping address. The customer is then returned to the mobile site to the complete the transaction. PayPal transmits the shipping address, e-mail and other customer information necessary for fulfilling the order to the merchant.

Some of the merchants already accepting PayPal Mobile Checkout include DVD Planet, Moosejaw Mountaineering, SkyMall and ElectronicsShowplace.com.

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