PayPal Plugs in to Electric Cars, Becomes Payment Option for ChargePoint Network

It’s probably the world’s most commonly-used electronic fund transfer service today, has been around now for an astonishing sixteen years, and can be used to pay for goods and services in both the virtual and the real world.

Pay for EV charging with PayPal and ChargePoint.

Pay for EV charging with PayPal and ChargePoint.

It also happens to be the service which turned rival Internet financial services company X.com and its founder Elon Musk — who changed his company’s name to PayPal after acquiring the fledgling PayPal system in March 2000 — into billionaires. The same Musk who, in 2004, helped co-found Tesla Motors.

So it seem fitting in some way that PayPal the company, which has long offered its own visitors and employees electric car charging at its San Jose, California headquarters, has become the latest way of paying for a public charging session on the ChargePoint network.

As ChargePoint announced on Monday in an official press release, PayPal is now accepted as a payment option for its charging stations across the U.S., with users who opt to pay for their charge session via Paypal prompted to enter their Paypal username and password from within the ChargePoint smartphone app.

While ChargePoint says over half of its 19,000 installed charging stations across the U.S. are free to use, those which do levy a can now be paid for using Paypal as well as a credit card.

In addition to adding an extra layer of convince for those who don’t like to pay for goods and services using credit cards, the inclusion of PayPal payment also adds an extra layer of security for those who are wary of using their credit card details online. Because PayPal is currency agnostic, it should also make it easier for those who are visiting the U.S. and don’t have a U.S. bank account to pay for public charging while driving a rental car, for example.

Not all ChargePoint locations charge you to charge your car, but you can use PayPal for once that do.

Not all ChargePoint locations charge you to charge your car, but you can use PayPal for once that do.

“With PayPal as a payment option, it’s even easier for drivers to plug in to a ChargePoint station,” said Pasquale Romano, ChargePoint’s CEO. “Combining the largest network for EV charging with a leader in digital payments means that more drivers can make the switch to electric.”

Like many other EV charging systems across the world however, ChargePoint requires users to ‘charge up’ their own ChargePoint account balance with a minimum $25 deposit before they can pay for charging on the network. As with credit card payments, eBay PayPal users can transfer that $25 direct from their PayPal account to their ChargePoint account from ChargePoint’s smartphone app, whereupon the funds are used to pay for any public charging sessions logged on the account.

Do you welcome the idea of using PayPal to pay for your electric car charging? Would you prefer a different method, such as RFID or contactless payment? Or do you prefer patronising places and businesses which offer complementary charging instead?

Leave your thoughts in  the Comments below.

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  • Dennis Pascual

    A smaller network from GE (called Watttstation) was originally launched powered by PayPal. It does not have the installed base as Chargepoint does in my part of the USA, but it did work rather well.

  • Hooray!! Common sense prevails and EV charging networks start to use existing payment systems rather than create their own.

    • vdiv

      Now if we can get the two drugstore chains to do the same (rolling eyes)…

      • Shhh… Don’t let Chargepoint know about CurrentC, they may implement it as the only payment system.

  • Jonathan Tracey

    Im not standing there punching in my paypal details, just support applepay and be done with it

  • Focus-E Driver

    Chargepoint is just about the last network to adopt Paypal. GE, EV Connect and Greenlots all adopted PayPal payments about 4 years ago.

  • Joe

    Nikki mentioned that eBay users can transfer the $25 minimum initial funds to their PayPal account, but I don’t understand. What does eBay have to do with any of this? (I understand eBay and PayPal are related now, but still, it doesn’t seem that being an eBay user would have any affect on ChargePoint.)

    • Sorry Joe — I’m blaming my surgery last week for a freudian slip here. Fixed, and well spotted!

  • Mel Farris

    Great ideal. Just link Chargepoint account to Paypal account and have the payment made directly through Paypal each time you use your Chargepoint card.