Payments Innovation

PayPal Pulls Into 2017

PayPal had a very busy 2016.

Earnings, revenue and active customer accounts all saw double digit growth; total payments volume was up 25 percent.  Data from comScore indicates that PayPal’s OneTouch mobile (and web) payments offering gives merchants a better than average conversion rate — 87.5 percent. And it announced some very big partnerships: Visa, Mastercard, Citigroup Fidelity National Information Services — PayPal even works with Siri these days.

PayPal also did its part to tap into the consumer’s philanthropic side, processing $7.3 billion in charitable contributions over the year, nearly a billion of which came as 2016 was closing down its doors in December.

“PayPal’s mission is all about democratizing financial services for citizens across the world. Perhaps nowhere is that more evident than in the power of our global payments platform to create a worldwide network that allows people to support their communities and the causes they’re most passionate about,” said Dan Schulman, president and CEO of PayPal. “We are thankful for the generosity that our PayPal users showed this past holiday season. We look forward to another year of innovation around new services and capabilities so that all of us can continue to make a positive impact in every community around the world that PayPal helps to serve.”

So what’s on tap for 2017?

We’re only two weeks into the new year, so way too soon to tell. But so far, there is a notable hello — and a perhaps-not-so-notable good-bye.

Hello 7-11 …

Cash is still a relevant payment method for many people — so it’s not surprising that a network whose mission is to democratize access to money is also all about giving its users access to it. 2017 opened with an announcement that was all about making it easier for cash-preferring customers to access digital payments.

Direct cash loading via a retailer is not totally new ground for PayPal — both CVS and RiteAid offer the service among other locations — but 7-Eleven  is ready to join their ranks. Using the service is similar — users present the 7-Eleven clerk their smartphone with the PayPal app opened and set to load cash.  The cashier scans the code, and the user hands them the amount of money they want to add to their PayPal account.

There are some limits — users can only place $500 per day in the account with a cap of $4000 per month.

And that add-on, notably is already ready to go in the Google Play store.

…Good Bye Bill Me Later 

But in name only. At the beginning of the financial meltdown in 2008, PayPal acquired Bill Me Later, a firm that actually launched in the year 2000. In 2015, the service was rebranded as PayPal Credit.

But as of today, the Bill Me Later brand will be laid to rest. PayPal has announced via email to soon-to-be former Bill Me Later users that they will no longer be able to visit the standalone site for servicing. According to a company spokesperson, PayPal’s decision reflects their interest in integrating all PayPal services into its “wallet” app  and single site.

PayPal Credit, of course, lives on, and all Bill Me Later — aka PayPal Credit —customers will be able to access and make payments to their accounts using PayPal.com.

Details related to PayPal’s 2016 results will be reported at their quarterly earnings call on January 26th.

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