Bigger isn’t always better. But it’s usually better than being smaller. And in business, a key measure of size is ubiquity.
There are plenty of other online payment apps out there, but PayPal rules. It’s not inherently superior to the alternatives. Rather, it dominates because it’s seemingly everywhere: PayPal is listed as a payment option on many of the largest retailer websites, alongside Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.
And the list is ever-growing. Ryanair this week announced that it will accept PayPal payments for its tickets, as do many other airlines and travel companies.
PayPal has 152 million users. The others, not so many.
In the burgeoning ride-share arena, it’s been a two-horse race, between Uber and Lyft.
While there has been a tendency to measure and compare Uber and Lyft according to the number of cities they serve, their revenues, the numbers of customers served or rides delivered, and so on, the winner — the PayPal of the car-share space — will be the company that most effectively and completely insinuates itself into the lives of consumers.
By that measure, Uber is way out in front.
Uber functionality is now (or will be shortly) integrated into the mobile apps of 11 companies: Expensify, Hinge, Hyatt Hotels, Momento, OpenTable, Starbucks, Tempo Smart Calendar, Time Out, TripAdvisor, TripCase, and United Airlines. And this week, Uber released its API (the application programming interface code that allows a site or app to connect to Uber) to developers. With the momentum it’s already established with the initial roster of high-profile partners, and a ready-to-go linking solution, it’s a safe bet that Uber will have a slew of additional partnerships on the books in short order.
Lyft, not so much.
The race isn’t over yet. But at this point, it’s Uber’s to lose.
Reader Reality Check
I haven’t had a chance to try either service, but I’d assume the user experience is pretty much the same. True, or are there significant differences?
This article originally appeared on FrequentFlier.com.