PayPal enables free euro transfers between friends and family

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PayPal app on a smartphone. Image: I AM NIKOM/Shutterstock

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Irish consumers at each other’s throats over IOUs.

Payments giant PayPal has scrapped its fees for euro money transfers between friends and family in a bid to lure consumers away from cash towards faster mobile payments.

Using the iOS and Android PayPal app, available on the App Store or Google Play, respectively, payments can be sent with just the recipient’s email address or phone number rather than via a sort code or IBAN.

‘There seems to be an Irish taboo around asking to be paid back by friends and family. Almost a third of us prefer to do nothing and not ask to be paid back, leaving many people out of pocket’
– LOUISE PHELAN

PayPal country manager Louise Phelan said that cash is still king in most consumers’ eyes in Ireland but the convenience and clarity of digital transfers should be explored.

“There’s a huge opportunity for people to stop cash slipping through the cracks or leading to falling-outs. If there’s a group paying a bill in a restaurant, the app just enables people to transfer what they owe to someone using just their phone number, and the money is in their PayPal account instantaneously.

“In addition, people are becoming aware of the costs associated with bank transfers and we are scrapping fees to allow people to embrace digital payments.”

I’ll pay you back Tuesday

people protesting over-use of cash

PayPal boss Louise Phelan leads a protest against cash. Image: Philip Leonard/Leonard Photography

PayPal employs 2,500 people at its operations in Dublin and Dundalk.

The app, which is live in France, Spain and the US, is designed to eliminate the problems associated with traditional transfers.

Another potential use is to help cut down on the IOU culture that is causing acrimony between people. Research carried out by the payments giant indicates that Irish consumers owe their friends and family an estimated €575m in small, unpaid debts. It estimates that 300,000 people in Ireland are likely to have fallen out with relatives and mates over IOUs.

Not only that, but Ireland is still a very cash-dependent society with two-thirds of survey respondents stating that they use cash most often to pay friends and family. The average Irish adult is owed €152 each through small loans made to relatives and acquaintances. Often (in one in five cases at least), they blame this on not carrying enough cash on them or not being able to access a cash machine. This leads to disputes and, in 25pc of cases, people vow never to loan money to loved ones ever again.

“There seems to be an Irish taboo around asking to be paid back by friends and family. Almost a third of us prefer to do nothing and not ask to be paid back, leaving many people out of pocket,” Phelan lamented.

PayPal app on a smartphone. Image: I AM NIKOM/Shutterstock

Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com