Tuesday, February 14, 2012

PayPal Taking Different Tack than Isis, Google

Up to this point, the potential attraction of mobile payments for retailers has been the promise of lower transaction fees for accepting credit card payments. Debit card fees might less a concern these days, but the point is that the most direct value for an upstart payment system is that it costs the retailer less to support.

Up to this point, that has not generally been the case. New mobile payment systems have offered costs higher, or equivalent, in most cases, and only now are some suppliers, mostly smaller firms, offering lower fees.

Some think PayPal might be the first large new provider to try the "lower fees" route. PayPal might actually subsidize its new payment system, allowing retailers to process PayPal transactions at lower costs than has been the case for credit card transactions, for example.

If PayPal can grab a two percent share of checkout at physical stores that would create a $70 billion business, according to eBay Chief Executive John Donahoe. PayPal to attack transaction fees?

That attack on the level of payments transaction fees is not restricted to PayPal. Some other would-be mobile payments providers do offer clear transaction processing fee advantages to retailers. But PayPal has the brand name and heft to create critical mass in the business, something that will be hard for smaller providers to equal.

By hoping to build on its online transaction fee business in the offline world, PayPal is taking quite a different tack than Google or Isis, both of which now are focusing only on revenue streams outside the transaction fee orbit.

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