Free Now links up with PayPal for digital payments

31 May 2021

PayPal’s Anthony Rafferty and Free Now’s Niall Carson. Image: Free Now

The payment giant’s 1.8m Irish customers can now pay for taxi journeys on Free Now in an increasingly cashless society.

PayPal and taxi app Free Now have teamed up for digital payments and tipping for journeys.

Free Now customers will have the option to add their PayPal account as a payment method in the Free Now app. PayPal has 1.8m active accounts in Ireland.

Niall Carson, general manager of Free Now Ireland, said the partnership provides convenience and security for drivers and passengers “whilst enabling both to maintain their social distance”.

“As Ireland’s leading ride-hailing app, we are constantly looking at ways to innovate our service to ensure we are providing the most seamless experience possible for our users,” Carson said.

“2021 has accelerated the adoption of digital services all-round,” Anthony Rafferty, senior director of global merchant services at PayPal, added. “As a leading technology player globally, and in the region, we have a role to play to improve digital experiences and make it simple, safe and secure for people in Ireland to hail rides.”

According to research from PayPal in November 2020, customers are moving further away from physical cash. In the survey, 42pc of people said they believe that there will be no cash transactions by 2023.

Free Now said that cashless payments have risen 10pc on its services since January of this year.

Across the economy, cashless payments have accelerated with physical cash falling out of favour. The pandemic accelerated trends in digital payments due to social distancing measures and people reluctant to hand paper notes back and forth.

Last week, figures from the Banking and Payments Federation of Ireland showed that contactless payments rose 12.9pc in the last quarter with ATM withdrawals down 44pc.

PayPal’s partnership with Free Now follows a similar one from taxi app Bolt, which recently entered the Irish market, and fresh-faced fintech start-up Strike. The start-up allows users to tip a service such as a taxi driver through a mobile payment rather than cash. It recently signed a cashless tipping deal with Camile Thai as well.

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin