PayPal aims to become your digital ID; unveils new bank, vendor, currency partnerships

PayPal aims to become your digital ID; unveils new bank, vendor, currency partnerships

PayPal has taken the wraps off its single sign-on digital identity service for online shopping, PayPal Access. The move comes as the San Jose-based payments operator unveils a series of new partnerships with a host of banking technology suppliers at the BAI Retail delivery show in Chicago.

PayPal Access is designed to simplify the checkout process by enabling the company's 100 million account holders to sign in at participating retailers' sites with just their PayPal user name and password.

The initiative is a key element of X.Commerce, a new division of PayPal parent company eBay, that aims to provide a common set of APIs for building consumer-facing online merchant services.

Commenting on PayPal Access, Damon Hougland, general manager of identity & informatics, X.commerce, says: "Results from early adopters show that consumers are more willing to engage with merchants because they can use their PayPal account to check out instead of having to deal with the hassle of entering name, address and payment information. This has huge implications for mobile commerce and merchant sales among new and existing customers."

Separately, PayPal is introducing a series of new relationships with banking technology suppliers as it bids to make it easier for banks to incorporate its services into their offerings. This morning it announced a partnership with NCR and S1 that enables people to make real-time person-to-person payments from cash machines.

Other vendors lined up for the PayPal treatment include mobile outfit mFoundry, account opening specialist MeridienLink, community banking vendor BanVue, and airmiles operator ezRezSoftware. The latter partnership envisages the creation of an application that would enable consumers to convert their airmiles points into cash for spending on the Web.

Dan Schatt, general manager of financial innovations at PayPal, explains: "With this partnership, airline and other reward programme members will have access to the entire 'catalogue' of merchandise the Internet offers by using their rewards anywhere PayPal is accepted."

Set for take-off in 2012, United Airlines' frequent flyer programme, will be the first rewards scheme to allow PayPal account holders to use miles as a currency.

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