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06 February 2012

PayPal aims for digital dominance

PayPal may be a dominant force in the online payments space, but it is certainly not resting on its laurels, particularly as a raft of rival payment players bring a range of mobile wallets to market, in an effort to maintain its prominent position, PayPal has unveiled a single sign-on digital identity service for online shopping.

The service, PayPal Access, aims to streamline and simplify the online checkout process by enabling its 100 million accountholders to sign in atparticipating merchant websites with only their PayPal user name and password.

PayPal Access is a pillar of X.Commerce, a new division of PayPal parent company eBay, which aims to provide a common set of APIs for building consumer-facing online merchant services.

Commenting on PayPal Access, Damon Hougland, genera! manager of identity and informatics at X.Commerce, said: "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."

The launch of PayPal Access comes on the back of a series of strategic partnerships that the company has formed with several banking technology suppliers, aimed at making it easier for banks to integrate its services into their offerings.

Apart from the already-announced tie-up with global ATM manufacturer NCR and payment service provider SI for realtime person-to-person payments from ATMs, PayPal has also inked partnerships with mobile payment specialist 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.

The United Airlines frequent flyer programme will be the first rewards scheme to allow PayPal accountholders to use miles as a currency, set to be rolled out in 2012.

PayPal has also teamed up with Microsoft to bring in-console payments to the Xbox 360 gaming console before the end of 2011. Users can already utilise their PayPal accounts on the Xbox Live website, but from the beginning of the Thanksgiving holiday season in November, users will also be able to log into their PayPal accounts on the Xbox website to pay for games and other digital content.

This ramping-up of activity coincides with new figures released by PayPal which showed that the company expects to reach $4.7 billion in total payment volume for digital goods by the end of 2011. PayPal also expects a significant increase in digital goods transactions of 28% from 2010, when digital goods accounted for total payment volume of $3.4 billion. 

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