While at the CONNECT conference this week, I had the opportunity to chat with the General Manager of PayPal Canada, Darrell MacMullin about what is going on at PayPal and the state of electronic payments in Canada. First off, this wasn’t a pitch in any way, shape, or form, not that I didn’t try to press Darrell for the inside scoop, this was a nice, casual chat. Darrell is quite a nice guy with a rather impressive pedigree in the ebusiness world (Chapters online, eBay Canada, now PayPal) and certainly knows his stuff. After the usual pleasantries I got right to something that I know all Canadian PayPal users want to know:
Why does it take so long to get money from PayPal into my bank account!
Only to be followed by:
When will Canada get great products like PayPal debit/credit cards?
Darrell had to chuckle at both of these questions. You see when he came to PayPal working on the bank transfer process was (and is) one of his top priorities. He’s asked the question a lot it seems. Turns out the simple reason is that Canadian banks are different. Okay, well I could have figured that out myself, but the deeper reason is that in the U.S. there is a centralized clearing process, so things can go more smoothly. Canada? Yeah, not so much. So while Darrell is working on the problem, it’s an uphill battle.
As for things like the PayPal debit/credit cards or being able to take a picture of a cheque to deposit it, these are things that are also tied up in the differences between Canada and the U.S. One thing I didn’t know was that the system for being able to take a picture of a cheque and have it electronically deposited was a direct result of 9/11. Turns out that when the towers fell, a lot of the paper lost was made up of paper cheques. After that the U.S. Government mandated a program to make sure that didn’t happen again, creating a centralized system for managing this. Canada doesn’t have this, not that PayPal doesn’t want to bring it to Canada.
That’s really the bottom line, Canada is one of PayPal’s top five markets in the world. We’re not under the radar, we’re not being ignored, and soon some great things will be announced in the mobile payment space (I kept pushing, but I got bubkus on details). As a loyal PayPal customer (I even have a merchant account), I was chided for not having the PayPal app installed on my phone (I just hadn’t gotten around to it) and got a nice demo of “bump to pay” and the myriad of charities that I can instantly donate to with a simple tap. I got schooled on that one and was pretty impressed. Good folks at PayPal and I’m promised exciting news in short order.