PayPal: Conquering the Digital Divide
PayPal has long been dominant in the online retail payments space, but the eBay subsidiary is expanding its mobile payment offerings. The San Jose, Calif.-based company's new mobile wallet, which it introduced at the SXSW2012 conference, includes features that allow users to find deals and coupons in physical stores they enter, put aside money from their paychecks for various purposes, pay at the point of sale directly out of those funds, and even pay for items in installments. So far this year several major retailers, including Home Depot, Toys R Us and Foot Locker, have partnered with PayPal to use its mobile wallet in their stores. And the company also has teamed with several banks to offer checking accounts funded with PayPal's mobile wallet.
Before introducing its mobile wallet, PayPal made a number of additions to its payments operations late last year when it unveiled a set of payments technologies it collectively calls "The Future of Shopping." These new technologies include PayPal's own mag-stripe card, an e-commerce authentication system called PayPal Access that lets users sign into shopping sites using their PayPal credentials, and, in partnership with NCR, a system that enables real-time P2P payments via ATMs. All of these innovations, says Dan Schatt, PayPal's head of financial innovations, are helping move payments toward a less-costly electronic future. --J.C.