Paypal Reflects on Digital Changes
Paypal has always been focused on digital payments, but the nature of that market has evolved drastically over the years.
At its core, Paypal remains sharply focused on digital payments. But like other payments providers and processors during what has been a renaissance period for payments technology, the company has had to reinvent itself.
ISO & Agent recently sat down with Paypal’s Brad Brodigan, vice president and general manager of mid-market and retail for North America, to discuss the company’s views on the payments landscape and the new opportunities it has.
ISO & Agent: Paypal has been synonymous with online shopping for decades. What excites the company now in terms of new products? Can the direction of focus change at all?
Brodigan: What we talk about most often is getting merchants to understand we have more financial services than just the Paypal button on their sites. We also are testing the ability to use our Venmo peer-to-peer payment service on merchant websites, and this is very exciting for our extremely loyal Venmo users.
We are expecting to expand Pay with Venmo to millions of merchants in the near future. They are excited about this as well, because it would be a new user base, and it won’t require any new integration.
ISO & Agent: Has the company lost any of its luster in the wake of so much competition and technological changes? Brodigan: Digital payments are exciting and dynamic, and sometimes frenetic. But I think we have evolved our strategy. We used to think we needed to curate various different consumer experiences, and now we are really focused on being an open and independent digital payments platform that enables digital and e-commerce transactions.
ISO & Agent: That explains how Visa and others suddenly became partners with Paypal, right?
Brodigan: It’s a bit of an evolution for us. We used to be focused on being able to curate the experiences. And frankly, there were times when we thought we were competitors. Because of our strategy, led by our CEO Dan Schulman, we are very much focused on a partner-driven ecosystem, turning competitors into partners.
ISO & Agent: Paypal could turn up in numerous other consumer-facing technologies with this approach. Was that part of this strategy?
Brodigan: We want to be at the heart of payments wherever they happen — in a shopping app, online, peer to peer, cross border. We want to enable digital payments across all of the great innovation that merchants and developers create. That makes us have to chase less, and frankly we just want to empower them to be creative as they think about new buying experiences. Paypal happens to be the most popular way for consumers to onboard and pay in those new areas.
ISO & Agent: The company must like being in a market with so much innovation taking place.
Brodigan: Innovators now come to us to enable payments. Facebook is a perfect example. Many people thought they were going to be a competitor to us, but Facebook is now a strong partner. You can say the same about Google and Android Pay. Paypal is a great way to onboard and pay through Android Pay.
ISO & Agent: Startups have come and gone at a pretty fast pace in recent years, but wouldn’t many fare much better now in what has become a more open payments ecosystem? Brodigan: Payments are hard. A lot of tech companies have a strong interest in playing in payments and that’s why we have such great new partnerships.
There are still many that want to be a payments enabler, but many are learning that payments make up a very complex ecosystem.
We have invested a tremendous amount over the past 18 years in cyber security, fraud protection and processing payments in 200-plus currencies. We are flattered that others want to get into this space, but it does open many opportunities for us.