PayPal has been in the news recently for launching and enhancing services that are changing the way we pay for goods – and manage our money. And the company is now a pathfinder, so influential that the entire industry watches what it does.
And almost always follows suit.
Recently PayPal launched ‘Check out with Crypto’, delivering on a previous announcement that their customers would be able to shop and pay with cryptocurrencies. This, along with other recent developments, has helped the passage of crypto into the mainstream.
Perhaps taking the lead from PayPal, Visa has gone from ignoring cryptocurrencies a year ago to embracing them with enthusiasm. Conversations, discussions and evaluations of digital currencies continue with increasing enthusiasm.
PayPal is also paying close attention to the changes that the pandemic has triggered. In an earnings call, an easy one for the execs as they announced record-breaking first-quarter revenues, two topics were high on the agenda.
PayPal, founded by Elon Musk and Peter Thiel, amongst others, is betting on QR codes and the ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ (BNPL) concept.
The company has signed up a million merchants to its QR code scheme, has processed $6.4 billion in the first quarter in-store and sees further, huge potential for the little square that can tell a detailed story about any transaction.
PayPal was also a leader in the pandemic inspired service, BNPL, which has helped many people in these hardest of times. At the outset, BNPL looked as if it could be a dangerous route and channel people into debt, but PayPal seems to have acted very well, and particularly young people are enthusiastically taking up the concept, with 3.3 million active users of the scheme.
There is a rumour out there that PayPal is considering launching its own stablecoin, probably with a partner.
What comes next for PayPal will be interesting to see, but it is hard to find fault with a huge company prepared to back new directions and initiatives so enthusiastically.
Whatever PayPal does is watched closely by everyone. Banks and traditional payments platforms cannot afford to simply look on as their lunch is eaten by PayPal and others such as Square (which sailed past profit expectations). They have already eaten their appetisers.