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.

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