PayPal is making it easier to log in to its services if you have an Apple device. The payments company announced today that it is adding passkeys as a log-in method for PayPal accounts, allowing iPhone, iPad, and Mac users to sign in without using a password on PayPal.com.
Passkeys are a new industry standard developed by the FIDO Alliance and the World Wide Web Consortium in collaboration with Apple, Google, and Microsoft to replace passwords with bits of data known as cryptographic key pairs. (To add to the confusion, Apple released Passkey, its own version of the passkey standard, in June.) The pairs are made up of a public key stored in the cloud and a private key stored locally on users’ devices, which are separated to ensure that an attacker does not gain access to account credentials if a server is compromised.
Passkeys also support a variety of authentication methods such as fingerprint scanning, face recognition, PIN codes, and even swipe patterns. Because passkeys are stored on local devices, it may be more difficult to log into an app or service with them if you’re using someone else’s phone or laptop. Passkeys, on the other hand, are undeniably more secure than traditional passwords.
Apple device users running iOS 16, iPadOS 16.1, or macOS Ventura can create a passkey with PayPal by logging into the PayPal website on desktop or mobile, entering their username and password, and then selecting the “Create a passkey” option. They’ll be asked to use Apple Face ID or Touch ID to create the passkey, which will then be synced with Apple’s iCloud Keychain service.
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Users with non-passkey devices can still use an iPhone to log in with a PayPal passkey, but they must scan a QR code that appears after entering their username.
PayPal passkeys are now available to users in the United States. Passkeys will be available in additional countries beginning in early 2023, according to PayPal, and on platforms other than iOS, iPadOS, and macOS “as they add support for passkeys.”