PayPal X logo

If PayPal has its way, you'll be using its service to pay for all kinds of apps and software updates with your credit card.

Last week, the electronic payments company announced a new service for developers that will let software-writers accept credit card payments using PayPal without requiring buyers to have a PayPal account.

The program, called Guest Payments, will let software developers offer credit card payments for an app in addition to PayPal's electronic transferring of funds between a buyer and seller. Publishers will be able to add PayPal's credit card payment options to any app--desktop, mobile phone, and Web.

One reason PayPal's electronic payments service has historically been so appealing is the anonymity it affords the customers and the convenience it lends the merchants. Customers--like you and me--can let PayPal handle secure money transfers without handing over credit card or bank account details to every small-time publisher. 

PayPal will give developers a chance to let users pay by credit card.

For their part, merchants can get the buyer's name and payment without having to set up shop to handle security standards or deal with fraud--in exchange for a transaction fee.

It will be interesting to see how this new PayPal service pans out on the mobile phone front in particular. Many smartphone platforms already offer their own application stores, and methods for application-buyers to pay through some combination of credit card or carrier billing.

BlackBerry-maker RIM has notably relied solely on PayPal to sell apps, requiring users to register for a PayPal account if they wanted to buy any software. A forthcoming update to BlackBerry App World will add a new credit card payment option and carrier billing, both which will exist outside of PayPal.

While PayPal's new payment option will crop up in app payments, we're not expecting to see it take over those mobile storefronts that have payment systems already in place.

Jessica Dolcourt reviews smartphones and cell phones, covers handset news, and pens the monthly column Smartphones Unlocked. A senior editor, she started at CNET in 2006 and spent four years reviewing mobile and desktop software before taking on devices.