PayPal Takes an Odd Step into P2P Gift Cards

November 24, 2017         By: Steven Anderson

The lesson of Venmo, that peer-to-peer (P2P) is huge in mobile payments, likely isn’t lost on many companies. It’s likely not even lost on PayPal itself, which recently responded to this notion by bringing out a major new advance in P2P. It’s bringing out a line of six digital greeting cards specifically for the holiday, designed in conjunction with “Man Repeller”’s host Leandra Medine.

The program allows users to just log into an account on PayPal, and select the “Send Money” option as is so commonly done. Simply fill in the necessary contact information, set the amount desired, click the gift box and pick an eCard greeting to go along with it, complete with personalized message. Of course, the recipient will need to have a PayPal account to use the card, but that can be opened quickly and at no charge, so it’s a minor inconvenience if that.

PayPal’s sweetening the pot, meanwhile, with a slate of better than 75 deals from major merchants, and is even teaming up with Mastercard on a Cashback Mastercard that offers two percent cash back on every purchase.

This comes at a time when people are more interested than ever in asking for cash for a holiday present. Fifty-two percent of respondents in a PayPal study were ready to ask for cash instead of normal gifts, and in more general terms, gift cards still do quite well.

Gift cards are an increasingly large part of the Christmas shopping season, and with good reason. Why give someone clothes when you’re not immediately sure of what they’d like or even what size they are? Why give someone the hassle of a returned item, or worse, forcing them to lie to your face and tell you how much they love the sweater that’s at least a size too small and they wouldn’t wear even if it did fit. Some consider the gift card a cop-out, but I don’t buy it; gift cards are flexibility, convenience, and a one-stop-shop all rolled into one.

So when you’re planning your holiday shopping, consider the gift card in all its many forms. A mobile payment system that goes almost anywhere and opens a field of options is well worth thinking about.