PayPal’s bringing its passkey logins to Android

Posted by
Check your BMI
Photo of someone using a phone to log into PayPal with a passkey
Image: PayPal

Android users should soon be able to log in to PayPal’s website using passkeys, the password-free login system that’s being pushed by Apple, Google, Microsoft, the FIDO alliance, and more. According to an announcement post, the feature is currently rolling out, and will be “more widely available over the coming year.”

PayPal says that the rollout will start on its website, rather than its app, and that you have to be running Chrome on Android 9 or up to access passkeys. If it’s available for your account, you may get a prompt asking if you want to create a passkey, which you can authenticate using the biometric system or passcode that you use to unlock your phone.

Passkeys are based on FIDO authentication standards, and are generally cross-platform compatible — though as PayPal shows, you may have to wait for a site or service to roll out support on every platform you use. Several password managers, including the ones built into iOS and Android, support syncing passkeys between devices, and there are ways to access them when you’re using a device that they’re not synced to as well.

Despite several big tech companies pitching passkeys as the key (no pun intended) to the passwordless future, they’re still relatively rare. 1Password has a page that keeps track of what sites and services support them, and while it does have some big names like Best Buy, Okta, Microsoft, and eBay, there’s still only 38 entries on the list. Even if there are actually double the number of sites that support passkeys, you’d still be pretty hard-pressed to ditch passwords for good at this point.

Using a passkey with PayPal won’t remove the password from your account, since you’ll still need that to log in on unsupported devices. (While PayPal rolled out passkey support for Apple devices last year, the company’s documentation says the feature isn’t available on Windows yet.)