The shift to mobile and digital payments: the PayPal and Ryanair example

Ryanair and Paypal strike a - mobile and digital - payment deal - source press release
Ryanair and Paypal strike a – mobile and digital – payment deal – source press release

Retail banks have several digital transformation challenges to tackle. The core mission of the retail bank is increasingly about creating the customer-oriented conditions for people to manage their personal finances. Make no mistake: in the end, that boils down to selling more and saving costs, even if customer-centricity is a real priority. The changing narrative and focus has an impact on the use of digital technologies and the undeniably crucial role of the omnichannel retail banking experience (read: connected customer experience).

At the same time, many challenges for retail banks are digital in nature. Just one of them: digital payment/transaction systems. Knowing that payments (moving money from A to Z) are still important for banks, although lending is where much of the profit is, disruptive payment technologies are offering challenges but also opportunities.

And it isn’t even about very futuristic (although some of them are closer than we think, just watch that fintech space) payment technologies alone as you can read below.

Changing how people buy – and pay – for tickets

A new example of how these technologies are changing the ways we order goods/services and pay for them using mobile and digital channels – as well as the underlying evolutions – is the collaboration between PayPal and “low fare” airliner Ryanair.

PayPal isn’t new of course and, even if it has evolved, its’ essence pretty much has remained what it was when it launched ages ago. By working with companies such as Ryanair, enabling air travelers to pay their tickets via mobile, PayPal offers more digital payment choices in relatively untapped applications, supported by companies like Ryanair who want to be perceived as innovative and customer-oriented.

The agreement – and resulting service – both companies announced, also indicates how digital and mobile transactions are becoming more mainstream, outside of the online banking environment and the credit card context for people who use PayPal to buy and to sell, far beyond auctioned items (e.g. consulting services, software, etc.).

PayPal already partnered with some airline companies before but the partnership with Ryanair – available soon – promises to result in a mobile-oriented innovation, again emphasizing how mobile is becoming crucial in payments – as it does in direct and digital retail banking, with geographical differences, among others depending on the number of branches.

It’s not the first significant technological partnership Ryanair strikes as the company is also working with Google on an entirely different flight-buying system which is expected to be launched soon as well and promises to change the way people buy plane tickets, not a small ambition.

The agreement between PayPal (the company also has someone in the Ryanair board) and the airline company provides a glimpse of some of the payment and transaction challenges for retail banks but mainly of digital innovations in industries such as travel.

Mobile taking center stage in customer experience optimization and digital payments

Even if it’s maybe not the kind of agreement that will make digital observers go wild, it is the kind of evolution that shows the underlying evolutions that are clearly revolving around speed, customer-centricity, costs/benefits and – most of all – the digital connections between customer experience optimization and service, higher revenues and choice, simplicity and ease-of-use.

Amazon goes mobile payments too - with Amazon Local Register
Amazon goes mobile payments too – with Amazon Local Register

The device – or should we say context – in the center of it all: mobile. The experience: ubiquitous, anywhere and anytime. Knowing that Amazon just announced a mobile payment system, , called Amazon Local Register, be it with another approach, it’s clear mobile gets into the center of digital payment too, even if retail banks until now haven’t really been disrupted too much by it (again, with regional differences).

Ryanair started working on an overall customer experience and quality improvement program, dubbed “Always Getting Better”, after having had a fall in profit in 2013. The program seems to pay off with an increased profit forecast, announced this summer.

The press release puts the mobile-focused PayPal/Ryanair “payment innovation collaboration” in that – ongoing – customer-facing optimization perspective.