PayPal Takes Bold Steps With Partnerships, Acquisitions, Mobile Tech

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PayPal dominates the online payments industry with 250+ million accounts, and is leveraging its massive scale to boost the economy and provide access to under-served populations with loans of more than $5 billion to 15,000 small businesses since 2013.

PayPal stock has gained nearly 50% in the past year as the digital payments business soars and estimates are that the total market opportunity for PayPal is worth around $110 trillion over the long term.

Dependent on partnerships, PayPal has brought Apple, Samsung, Facebook and Google into the tent, as well as Visa and Mastercard, and Wells Fargo, JPMorgan and Bank of America.

Customer engagement is on the rise; PayPal processed a record 35.7 transactions per active account last quarter, up 9% year over year.

Venmo, acquired by PayPal in 2013, delivers nearly one-quarter of PayPal’s transaction volume and has augmented person-to-person payments, processing $14 billion worth of payments during Q2 2018.

Venmo’s built-in social media component enhances the stickiness factor and encourages repeat usage.

To that end, PayPal launched a new version of its mobile app enabling even easier sending and receiving of funds and includes advanced authentication features, 24/7 fraud monitoring and instant account notifications.

“Seventeen percent of Venmo users have engaged in a monetized experience so far this year, and you’re seeing really noteworthy merchants like Uber, Uber Eats, GrubHub, Seamless, Eat24, Williams Sonoma, all adding dedicated Venmo buttons to their sites and apps,” said PayPal COO Bill Ready. “So we think there’s still tremendous growth left to go in those.”

This year PayPal went on a buying spree with three acquisitions that enhance its capabilities in business payments, predictive AI for retail, and e-commerce platform disbursements.

iZettle, in PayPal’s biggest deal to date for $2.2 billion, provides tools and a payments platform for small business and is widely used in Europe and Latin America by more than 500,000 businesses. The acquisition gives PayPal a stronghold in physical retail and a strong international presence.

Jetlore, an artificial intelligence start-up, is focused on “personalized commerce experiences” through an “AI-powered prediction platform” that forecasts color choices, size, and style for each customer.

Hyperwallet, a $400 million deal, distributes payments to merchants and individuals that sell goods online and is able to disburse payments in multiple currencies in more than 200 countries.

PayPal has opened a digital gift card store in Australia, out to disrupt a $2.5 billion gift card market down under, as nearly 90% of Australians have gifted or received gift cards. The company already has digital gift card stores in the US, UK and Germany.

An expert in cash transactions, PayPal has encouraged the generosity of its huge community, with $8.5 billion donated to charity by PayPal customers and merchants in 2017.

Dan Schulman, CEO of PayPal, helped launch Virgin Mobile with Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson, whom he credits as a mentor in leadership style and philosophy. “He basically said there’s no way that a company can be an enduring company if they’re not fundamentally a customer champion,” said Schulman. “So I really adopted that into my whole philosophy and way of thinking. And the second thing he said, companies need to be a force for good.”

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