PayPal Confirms April Launch Date for Discover Partnership

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PayPal's long-watched partnership with Discover, which will allow Discover merchants to accept PayPal payments at the point of sale, is on track to launch April 19.

"This is not years away, this is days away," said Don Kingsborough, vice president of retail services at PayPal, during SourceMedia's 25th annual Card Forum & Expo in Boca Raton, Fla.

The partnership with Discover Financial Services, announced in August, pushes PayPal's vision of a ubiquitous mobile payment experience. PayPal has spent the past year moving its online payment method to the physical point of sale.

"The largest share where people buy is still going to be retail," says Kingsborough. "Retail is not going away."

Discover echoes that sentiment. "The physical-world point of sale is very important," says Joe Hurley, senior vice president of global business development at Discover.

While online shopping continues to grow, it still accounts for only 10% of all purchases, he says. Physical retail locations are still the preferred method of shopping.

While the slow adoption of mobile payments and wallets seems to hint at consumers' reluctance to change their habits, Kingsborough says it's only a matter of time.

There's little doubt mobile devices are integrated with consumers' lives.

A majority of consumers, 66%, lay their phones within three feet when going to bed and use it as their alarm clock, says Kingsborough. And 75% of people email, tweet or make calls from their handsets when they're using the restroom.

Soon shoppers will want to pay with those same devices, he says.

"The first place PayPal is going to see success offline is online," Kingsborough says. As people become more interested in PayPal's mobile wallet at the point of sale, more consumers will start signing up and buying online first, he says.

On partnering with Discover, Kingsborough says, "It's like getting married." They "fill the gaps when you can't fill them in yourself," he says.

Discover comes to the partnership with a large merchant base and PayPal comes with its 117 million active users, Kingsborough says.

"I believe you do what you're famous for; you partner with people that are famous for what they're doing," he says.

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