While it claims that this is the first time it has launched a bot, it's technically not the first time it has introduced a working PayPal integration concept with a third-party communications channel.
PayPal's Push For A Payments Bot
This past year, for instance, PayPal expanded its relationship with Facebook's Messenger, letting customers track their transactions right within the messaging app. It has also been in close relationship with merchants to support transactions within their individual chatbots on Messenger, as per TechCrunch.
It doesn't end there, however, as PayPal has also fostered other integrations with larger platforms, two of them being Apple's Siri and Microsoft's Outlook. Similar to these integrations, the new Slack bot is aimed directly at end users. It's available as a Slack app via the company's online directory, and sending money is relatively easy.
"At PayPal, we're focused on offering our customers a variety of innovative, easy and secure ways to move and manage their money," says PayPal.
How To Send Money Via Slack
To do this, all you have to do is enter a slack conversation, preface a message with "/PayPal" followed by a simple line of command. For example, users can write something along the lines of "/PayPal send $18 to @username" whereupon a transfer will be initiated. This can be done on any device where Slack can be installed, and the money will be offloaded to the recipient's PayPal account.
The most obvious idea here is the easy implementation of person-to-person payments using a platform with a user interface users are already familiar with, or one that's intuitive and easily understood, assuming if a person is just learning Slack. It's easy to imagine how this'll help people issue simple payments such as split bills, shared cab fares, project donations, and more.
To use the new feature, grab the bot form Slack's app directory, install it, and you're almost set. Once installed, link your PayPal account and set your preferred transaction settings, such as the frequency of transaction review and approval.
The bot, however, is only available in some countries: Slack users living in Australia, Canada, United States, and UK, may use the feature now.
PayPal stressed the looming eventual prevalence of bots, quoting a Gartner report which predicts that the average person will interact with bots more than their partner by 2020, which is a bold yet quite possible assumption. So it makes sense that PayPal is jumping in early.
The company says that person-to-person payments is one of its most used features, having processed $41 billion in person-to-person volume across PayPal, Venmo, and Xoom in 2015 alone, which totals to a 42 percent year-over-year increase. PayPal says that in-context solutions, such as the just-released Payments bot, is one of the culminations of the company's constant search for a better and more easier ways for users to move their money.