PayPal 2.0: Send cash by bumping iPhones

Ah, the fist-bump. First a hip replacement for the high-five, then a way to share contact information, and now the futuristic way to tip a maitre'd for a good table.

Do the bump! Just knock iPhones (gently) to swap cash with someone. PayPal

PayPal has come full circle. What started as a PalmPilot app that let users wirelessly exchange money has evolved into an iPhone app that lets users wirelessly exchange money.

However, whereas Palm users relied on IR "beaming" to shoot funds back and forth, iPhone owners can simply "bump" their phones: The new PayPal 2.0 incorporates the same accelerometer-driven activator as the popular Bump app.

In other words, money can change hands just by knocking them together. What's the point of that? Well, say you owe your buddy $35.17--half of last night's bar tab, for instance. Instead of finding an ATM, taking out cash, and hoping your pal can make change, just "bump" the exact amount to him via PayPal. In about five seconds, the transaction is done.

Of course, PayPal for iPhone suffers from the same limitation as PayPal for PalmPilot: Not everyone owns a compatible device. It's all well and good to have the app on your iPhone, but if the other people in your life don't, well, go bump yourself.

Thankfully, bumping is only one piece of the PayPal 2.0 equation. The updated app also offers a Split Check feature for dividing and reimbursing a restaurant tab among up to 20 people. Its Collect Money feature lets you round up funds for, say, group dues or a gift for the soccer coach.

You can also withdraw money from your PayPal account, send money requests, and set payment reminders--if you use PayPal to pay bills. The app's overhauled interface makes navigation much easier than before.

Bottom line: If you're already a PayPal user, the new app is worth a look--and a bump.

 

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