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Friday, May 25, 2012

PayPal aims for ubiquity with new partnerships

PayPal Inc., the payment arm of eBay Inc., intends to provide its payment options everywhere – online, in the mobile arena and, now, offline. PayPal President David Marcus and PayPal Vice President of Retail and Prepaid David Kingsborough made this clear during a May 24, 2012, press event at company headquarters in San Jose, Calif., where they indicated PayPal is nearing critical mass in the payments space with its new offline POS agreements.

The company now has agreements with all three major POS terminal manufacturers and four new POS software vendors to integrate PayPal payment software on their terminals and in their software. The agreements give PayPal access to 40 million terminals globally, making it a nearly universal option for customers of large and midsize retailers, PayPal noted.

The company heralded new partnerships with terminal manufacturers VeriFone Inc. and Equinox Payments LLC, respectively the number one and number three terminal manufacturers in the world. These payment hardware providers agreed to include the entire PayPal payment suite on their consumer-facing terminals. PayPal already has a similar agreement with the world's number two terminal manufacturer Ingenico S.A.

Consumers will be able to choose any of the PayPal payment options at retailers offering the service on their POSs – PayPal card and PIN, phone number and PIN, or, in the near future, near field communication (NFC) and PIN.

PayPal also touted new agreements with four POS software providers Leapset Inc., a POS system for restaurants that allows customers to order, check in, earn rewards and pay – all before arriving at the restaurant; ShopKeep.com Inc., a software-as-a-service (SaaS) for the Apple Inc. Mac and iPad POS systems; Vend Ltd., an online POS and inventory management software provider; and Erply, a SaaS POS provider. These companies collectively offer access to 50,000 mid-market offline businesses using their software.

PayPal additionally stated 15 new national retailers will install its payment software on their POS terminals. VeriFone spokesman Pete Bartolik said VeriFone supports 10 of the 12 national Tier 1 merchants who just agreed to put PayPal on their terminals.

What the agreements mean

Marcus said retailers can adopt the PayPal solution without ripping out and replacing their current POS hardware, installing NFC devices or instituting terminal upgrades. He noted PayPal calculates that the potential for the offline market is 17 times greater than its online business and added that the company projects it will process more than $7 billion in mobile payment volume this year, not including its new offline processing business.

"We are approaching ubiquity," Kingsborough said. "We will be everywhere the consumer wants to be."

PayPal retailers said they are pleased PayPal is becoming more widely available. Devaine Kimmet, Treasurer and Vice President of Financial Services for PayPal partner The Home Depot U.S.A. Inc., said at the press conference that he believes PayPal is driving electronic wallet acceptance. "There is not another retail solution out there that keeps the customer at the forefront," he said, adding that PayPal provides the potential for adoption and ubiquity that NFC technology does not because "there is no standard for NFC at the moment."

Kristen Bloom, Chief Technology Officer at J.C. Penny Co. Inc., said, "PayPal goes beyond the digital wallet experience." end of article

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