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Feb 11, 2021

PayPal looks to stock trading, savings in push beyond checkout

Notable Calls: PayPal, Nuvei and Restaurant Brands


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PayPal Holdings Inc. is weighing a foray into stock trading and high-yield savings accounts as the firm pushes beyond its iconic checkout button.

The payments giant expects the number of active users on its sprawling platform to climb to 750 million by the end of 2025 -- roughly double the current level -- as it expands into new areas of financial services, Chief Executive Officer Dan Schulman said Thursday at the firm’s investor day. With its latest plans, PayPal aims to become the world’s next financial super-app, akin to Chinese giants Alipay and WeChat Pay.

“There’s few companies in the world that can even aspire to this vision,” Schulman said. “It requires capabilities that cross industries, from financial services to payments to shopping to technology.”

PayPal is coming off a record year, when spending on its platform soared 31 per cent as consumers turned to online shopping in droves after the pandemic shuttered stores around the globe. The firm added 72.7 million users during the year as revenue climbed to US$21.5 billion.

The performance came even as PayPal’s main business of speeding up the online checkout process has seen intense competition from the likes of Apple Inc. as well as payment giants Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc. Still, it’s an area PayPal dominates: The firm’s button has been added to nearly three-quarters of the leading U.S. retail sites, according to a survey last year by

Now PayPal has set its sights on turning itself into a one-stop shop for consumers and merchants alike to conduct their finances. The firm said new products could include stock trading and high-yield savings accounts as well as bill-payment capabilities and check-cashing services.

The firm is leaning into the success it’s already seen from adding the ability for users to buy, sell and hold cryptocurrencies in digital wallets in recent months. PayPal has said customers who took advantage of the feature to purchase digital currencies began logging into PayPal at two times the rate they were prior to using the service.

That sort of activity, in turn, drives revenue. Schulman said the firm now expects the average amount of revenue it collects from each user to grow substantially over the next five years.

Stock Surge

PayPal’s shares rose 4.9 per cent to US$297.18 at 12:07 p.m. in New York. The stock has climbed 710 per cent since it was spun off from EBay Inc. in 2015, compared with the 89 per cent advance of the S&P 500 Index.

PayPal has warned that some of the new initiatives caused an uptick in spending on technology and development. Such costs already rose 27 per cent to US$2.64 billion last year. Still, the firm has said it expects profits to climb 17 per cent on an adjusted basis this year.

“We really hit our stride in 2020,” Schulman said. “And I’m so excited about what we plan to deliver and what we are going to deliver in this year and in the years to come.”