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PayPal's Schulman lays out plan to rule the digital commerce world

06 March 2015  |  18563 views  |  3 Dan Schulman, Paypal CEO

Incoming chief Dan Schulman has set out his vision for turning PayPal from a button on a website into the operating system for digital commerce.

Schulman, who joined PayPal from American Express and is currently working under the title of president and CEO designee ahead of the firm's spinoff from eBay, told investors at a Morgan Stanley conference in San Francisco that he wants PayPal to become more than just a buy button on websites.

"Our vision for PayPal is to be the world's leading open digital payments platform. What that means is that we want to enable consumers and merchants to come together in the emerging world of digital commerce. We want to allow the ecosystem to build on top of our platform capabilities, any technology they wish, any payment form that they wish, reward, offers, loyalty, all of that on top of our platform," he said.

Schulman wants PayPal to be at the heart of the shift towards digitisation of money, as people use their mobile phones to manage their money. Currently, PayPal'sactive account holders use it for a couple of transactions a month. The company claims 160 million active digital wallets in circulation.

Ultimately, he wants people to use PayPal every day: "To move from being a transactional relationship with consumers, to having a full engaged model with them where they work with us day-in and day-out, to manage and move their money."

The new boss is equally ambitious when it comes to merchant, insisting that "we want to be the operating system for digital commerce going forward. What that means for us is we want to be so much more than a button on a merchant's site. We want to move from being a payments provider, one of many, to being a full solutions payments partner to merchants."

Addressing PayPal's rivals, Schulman told investors that he is happy to help merchants integrate Apple Pay, Android Pay, Visa, MasterCard and the rest, because when PayPal does 100% of the checkout process, the use of PayPal goes up significantly anyway.

"So not only do we get a share of all of the checkout, but actually our PayPal button also goes up because a lot of the implementations of our PayPal button are suboptimal. And so when we have that 100% share of checkout, not only are we partners with our merchants but we see our PayPal usage go up as well."

Last week PayPal scored a major coup with retailers by agreeing to buy Paydiant, a Boston-based mobile payments startup that helps the likes of Subway, Capital One and retailer joint venture MCX build mobile payments, offers and loyalty into their apps.

Schulman hopes that another fairly recent acquisition, Braintree, will help PayPal win with another demographic, millennials. Braintree's Venmo is the "go-to application" for millennials managing their money, he claims, and it grew six-fold last year.

"This year, we intend to take the Venmo population and more fully integrate them into the PayPal ecosystem so that Venmo users can do more than just do P2P transfers to pay their bills, but can actually work on the Pay Pal network to buy and transact with merchants."

Comments: (3)

A Finextra member
A Finextra member | 06 March, 2015, 08:38

It'll be interesting to see if PayPal can really pull this off. They've got great brand recognition with consumers and merchants but their technology has felt quite lacking and long in the tooth, especially compared to some of the more nimble payments companies that have sprung up over recent years.

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Gerard Hergenroeder
Gerard Hergenroeder - Payments Shark - Millersvile | 06 March, 2015, 15:12

I enjoyed reading the article about PayPal's commerce plans. Mr. Schulman has identified a big prize, commerce. One day PayPal could make more from their commerce initiatives than their current payments business. PayPal is fortunate to have such a visionary. Now, the tough part begins, execution of the strategy! A big part of the success difference is choosing partners that bring the right set of skills and technical capabilities that enable commerce. A lot is at stake, especially when Alipay enters the market globally. Alipay currently has over 300 million customers.

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Jonathan Bowles
Jonathan Bowles - catalyst - odiham | 07 March, 2015, 10:09

its hardly a vision as suggested. its a decision to be a value agregator rather than a one trick pony.

too many transacrion businesses all trying to skim a few points off the amount and provide very little. i hope pay pal do something really inovative rather than someone blagging a position based on an idea that doesnt add much JB

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