Commerce will be invisible in the future, says PayPal’s John Lunn (video)

26 Nov 2015

PayPals's head of start-up relations John Lunn

As mobile wallets evolve, purchases will be made on our behalf by our devices and most people won’t even notice transactions happening, according to PayPal’s start-up chief John Lunn.

Lunn, who is senior global director of Developer and Start-up Relations at payments giant PayPal, said that eventually money will be invisible as mobile technologies merge with wearables and more seamless payment services with all the friction removed.

He said that self-driving cars will take themselves off to be serviced and our devices will open doors and acquire the things we need when we need them.

Future Human

PayPal acquired Braintree last year for $800m. The company processes $10bn worth of payments a year, including $2bn on mobile devices.

PayPal’s focus on removing payment frictions for start-ups

While PayPal may be an established payments giant today, Lunn said the company has always had a start-up mentality that remains since it was established in 1998 in Silicon Valley.

“We’ve always worked with start-ups. Before PayPal, if you wanted to set up a business online you needed to be an established business and you would have to go to a bank [and] get a loan.

“PayPal effectively democratised the ability to set up an online business and so we’ve always worked with start-ups.

“When we purchased Braintree nearly two years ago, it was a start-up, and we’ve helped create companies like Airbnb and Uber. If you’ve stayed in an Airbnb or you’ve taken an Uber cab, you won’t notice paying and that is Braintree.”

Lunn said that, as seen with services like Uber, payments are becoming invisible and the focus is on taking the frictions out of doing commerce.

“It’s going away to a point where you won’t even notice.”

The future, he said, could be very similar to Star Trek, where people consume services without any visual evidence of transactions occurring.

“I think your devices will be doing the paying for you. It will get to where your ‘things’ will know when to buy stuff for you.

“That’s the future: your car will take itself off for a service and your items will top themselves up and buy new stuff.”

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years