PayPal thriving on its own as profit leaps 43%

Profile picture for user slauchlan By Stuart Lauchlan April 27, 2016
PayPal's turned in some healthy growth figures and is investing in a full payment services vision.

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Ahead of next week’s all male gender equality and inclusion in the workplace event at PayPal, the digital payments provider put the embarrassing PR around that behind it with a set of numbers to keep Wall Street happy.

PayPal's total revenue rose 19% to $2.54 billion in the quarter ended March 31, while net income jumped 43% to $365 million.  Active accounts rose 11.5% to 184 million, while total payment volumes were up 28.6% to $81.06 billion on 1.4 billion transactions during the quarter, up 26% year-over-year.

CEO Dan Schulman points to mobile platforms as an area of growth:

We launched a new fundamentally redesigned PayPal mobile app in 145 markets simultaneously, in 17 languages, across both iOS and Android operating systems. The app is built on an iterative platform so that we can now easily customize and localize new features across all the markets where it's live. The new experience is driving increased consumer engagement, increased send and request money transactions and will enable our consumers to use their mobile phone online, in app or in store with both NFC and QR capabilities.

He adds:

It really brings us into the mobile world. It puts up front the things that customers want to go out and do, it doesn't clutter it up. It's simple, easy.  It's driving increased consumer engagement.

It's just commerce is the way to think about it. It's all moving towards mobile. And we basically want to be able to utilize for merchants this underlying platform so that we can be their OS, do 100% share of checkout, enable merchants to create their own application, tie in their rewards into our platform, do things like split tender at checkout and create a real value proposition change for consumers, so that merchants can use mobile to get closer to their customers.

We want to be OS agnostic. We want to be POS, point-of-sale, agnostic as well. And then we want to use our PayPal wallet, which is growing quite quickly to basically light up that merchant app. Part of the issue with merchant apps is when they can create a good value proposition, they need somebody to help power that.

The firm has also launched PayPal Commerce, a set of tools and APIs which are currently in beta that make it easier for merchants to securely sell across multiple contexts, such as e-mail, social share, blogs, articles, ads, in-app, and anywhere consumers are online or on their mobile devices. Schulman states:

We are trying to become a full services platform to enable merchants to move into digital commerce. That means we want to do 100% share of their payment processing. We want to be a strategic partner with them. We want to enable their business strategy. The more we do that, the closer we get to our merchants, the better off that is for us. Churn goes down, more branded business comes towards us.

A case in point might be Vodafone: 

Our partnership with Vodafone in Europe will have tens of millions of European customers to use PayPal as their preferred way to fund their payments. And for the first time, consumers with Android smartphones at Visa contactless terminals will be able to tap, to pay in store. We are now live in our first market, Spain, and we anticipate expanding across Europe throughout the back half of 2016. Our partnership with Vodafone delivers what consumers, businesses and European regulators want, better products, more choice and greater transparency.

He adds:

We obviously are also expanding partnerships right now. All the investment that we've done in the tech stack over the course of the last three plus years is really paying off in our ability to work with the most technically savvy and sophisticated partners and be able to deliver digital and mobile payment experience that we think is best-in-class.

New releases

PayPal has moved to a DevOps-style model of continuous delivery to increase the rate of product releases:

Our increased pace and global scale of innovation is fuelled by the investments we have made in our core infrastructure and platform. They are designed to drive agility and innovation across our entire software stack. We run one of the largest private cloud environments in the world. We follow industry best practices of agile software development, continuous integration and delivery using open source technologies. These investments have enabled our developers to push code several times a day, allowing them to iterate new features faster and get instant customer feedback.

To drive that point home, the number of production deployments has increased by 200% compared to last year. Our increased ability to innovate on a global scale and deliver on our commitments is a primary reason why PayPal is becoming the partner of choice for companies around the world.

On the buy side, the firm has particular ambitions, says Schulman:

One of the things that we talk about inside PayPal all the time now is how do we become the ultimate customer champion company? Being a customer champion company means providing the very best experience to our customers. And when we think about the very best experience, that means giving our customers full choice and optionality about where they want to pay and how they want to pay.

My take

Coming on the back of some good numbers from eBay, PayPal's own figures suggest this is working out to be an amicable divorce.