PayPal recently announced a streamlining of its payment flow process that doesn’t require a PayPal account to use. In other words, you can “check out” via PayPal, reap the security benefits of the merchant store not knowing your financial details, and pay for your item without having created any long-term relationship with PayPal (although they wouldn’t mind).

Adding PayPal to an e-commerce site can sometimes result in lower conversions — which makes sense because you’re being taken away from the experience you were just having at the merchant site. On the upside, some mid-sized UK merchants using this new process are reporting an increase in their monthly total payment volume, with gains of over 9% on average.

But I’ve got a different request altogether.

I use PayPal. A lot. Probably at least $500 a month of online purchases of various things that, at the time, I’m convinced I really need. It always amazes me how confusing the PayPal part of the checkout process is. First I’m on the merchant site. Then I’m off it — but not so obviously that I notice right away. It’s just a white, empty-feeling page with the merchant logo and a familiar PayPal button. Then the interface changes again to make it obvious that it’s PayPal.

In order to return to the merchant site, I have to click a small-font text link that competes with PayPal-branded buttons for my attention. At this point, I’m still not sure if the purchase “took” — that confidence doesn’t come until I return to the merchant site.

Won’t some of those e-tailers enjoying that volume increase please, please, PLEASE put just a fraction of that revenue toward hiring a bright developer to create a way to do this undercover? Its seems this could be easily resolved with a bit of (*buzzword alert*) AJAX.

Enter your PayPal user name, maybe some kind of modal lightbox pop-up to asks for my password, it goes back behind the scenes to confirm this with PayPal, then seemlessly closes the pop-up and updates my status on the merchant site to say, “Purchase completed via PayPal. Thanks for your business!”

I like using PayPal. I just don’t want to notice it. Kinda like the electricity in my home; I just want it to be there when I plug in my laptop.

What do you think?