Refer a Friend

Refer a Friend is a revival of PayPal's legendary friend invitation program. It still is the most effective and organic way to increase the PayPal user base. I had the chance to recreate the core friend referral experience for the native PayPal mobile application.


The legendary PayPal referral program has been reincorporated into the brand new PayPal app.

PayPal's referral program has brought up PayPal since its beginning. From the initial user base of 24 people, the referral program achieved 7% daily growth with a cost of $20 per acquired user. The user base doubled every 10 days since the introduction of the referral program, and PayPal managed to attract thousands of users in just five months.

refer a friend prototype

Brand new design language, a new home for the referral program.

Previous development of the Refer a Friend experience was outsourced to a third-party developer, and it was not consistent with PayPal's new design language which launched in 2015. The Value Added Commerce team decided to make a strategic move of reincorporating the friend referral program with the new PayPal design pushed in early 2016, and to enhance the friend referral distribution stream.

history of refer a friend program

Competitive analysis

First, I conducted a competitive analysis on other friend referral programs of other services that achieved similar type of organic viral growth. This allowed me to get a sense of the different referral distribution streams and decide which ones are popular these days and what's outdated.

competitive analysis

User flow

PayPal friend referral program is dependent on a 'Member-Get-Member' (MGM) Promotion. Only when the MGM promotion is active will the user receive the $25 PayPal credit for each sign ups. To compensate for this limitation, I carefully constructed a user flow which includes the MGM Promotion variation and also the different referral distribution streams.

user flow

Hi-fi wireframe workflow

After I finalized the hi-fi wireframes, I organized the wireframes into the workflow format, so that I could present the product to other designers and engineers and explain how the product works logically and effectively.

hi-fi wireframes

Easily add multiple recipients and bulk-send email invites to your contacts.

email send prototype

Same referral link. Two ways to copy the referral.

copy link prototype

Influential? Let your referrals make a real difference for you.

social media sharing prototype

Track your rewards easily. Earn your $25 effortlessly.

reward tracking prototype