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What's the Difference Between PayPal and a Bank?

Both PayPal and Chase say there's still a line between their businesses, even as both look to mobile payments.

Asa Mathat

There’s still a line between traditional banks and online payments platforms, executives from Chase and PayPal said today at the Code/Mobile conference at The Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay, Calif.

“We think of ourselves much more as a technology enabler that can give people access to financial services, and not necessarily a provider of those services,” PayPal product and engineering head Bill Ready said.

Ready was joined onstage by Gavin Michael, who directs Chase’s digital efforts, but said foot traffic at physical Chase branches has withstood the rise of digital because on-the-go banking is a different animal.

“It’s not an or, it’s an and,” Michael said.

Both execs spoke to the importance of peer-to-peer payments, which happen through the PayPal-owned app Venmo and Chase’s QuickPay service. Both services, they claimed, are Venmo is processing about $1 billion in money transfer volume every quarter, while QuickPay did the same in 2014.

21 million of Chase’s customers are using its iOS and Android apps, and 45 million checks were deposited via mobile last year, Michael said.

Ready’s recent work includes development of PayPal’s new One Touch checkout system; he said the proliferation of mobile devices has made digital wallet solutions more viable than they have been in the past.

And what’s next after peer-to-peer payments? Maybe something based on the blockchain, Ready said, though not necessarily bitcoin, the digital currency which has seen its value drop severely in the past year. He likened the blockchain to the TCP/IP protocol that powers communication online … albeit in 1991, before the Web took off.

“It’s several years before we really have massive use cases,” he said.

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.