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New! Improved!

Ditch your wallet for your phone with PayPal's improved app

Online payment service PayPal is updating their iOS and Android app to focus on making your smartphone a digital wallet. The update lets you order and pay for food without waiting in line, transfer money to your friends, look for local deals, and pay later by opening a virtual line of credit. PayPal may be one of the best ways to pay for things online, but with the overhauled app it's now great to use when you go out too.

The updated app focuses on making purchases more convenient and custom tailored to each individual. One new feature that exemplifies this philosophy is the shopping section. Based on your location, the app allows you to check out deals and coupons from stores nearby. You can also see which stores in your area support PayPal as a payment method.

The shopping section also gives you a way to pay for meals at your table and even order and pay in advance at certain restaurants. Since PayPal allows you to add all of your accounts, you can also choose between various payment methods like debit or credit.

PayPal is also offering a line of credit to customers who are eligible. The line of credit would allow you to choose the option to "bill me later" making purchases over $99 subject to 0 percent interest if you pay it off before a 6 month period ends.

The app has been completely redesigned visually as well, getting rid of the old brown app for a more bright, modern, and easy-to-navigate interface. From the new app, you can manage settings and review all transactions on your PayPal account.

Of course, lines of credit are not exactly groundbreaking. What is more notable is that PayPal is actively getting into the digital wallet game. Tech companies like Google and Apple have been trying to break into mainstream payments for a long time and while it's convenient to use your Apple ID to buy a $0.99 app, they've been less successful in getting us to buy a meal with it.

It's hard to beat the convenience of a plastic card. They're light, thin, and very simple. And, combined with a pin number, credit and debit cards are accepted nearly everywhere. For the most part, you'll never have to worry if a fancy restaurant or a convenience store will accept your card. This is why PayPal is betting hard on features.

While paying with the PayPal app may not be simpler or more convenient than cash or a card, not having to wait in a line has value. Easily transferring money to friends electronically has value when you don't have cash. Also, integrating local deals similar to services like Foursquare is great for people who like saving a couple bucks but don't have time to cut coupons. But most importantly, it's an interesting use of the technology we already carry with us every day.