At Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, PayPal announced it plans to roll out tap-to-pay NFC payments in the UK and Australia this summer, and has acquired a company which developed a rival group’s retail payments service.
But the real news, ReadWrite has learned, is a reorganization by Dan Schulman, the company’s new president, who will become CEO after the payments company spins off from eBay. Schulman has elevated two executives, Hill Ferguson and Bill Ready, to posts running the company’s consumer and merchant businesses respectively.
Significantly, Ferguson and Ready are both executives who joined PayPal in recent years through acquisitions of startups. Ferguson, previously PayPal’s chief product officer, worked at Zong, a mobile-payments company, and Ready ran Braintree, which PayPal acquired in 2014.
Braintree specialized in a fast-growing category of merchants—Web and mobile-app developers. Increasingly, though, large retailers are interested in the same kind of services Braintree and PayPal has provided to app developers.
PayPal Acquires Again In Mobile Payments
That’s part of the reason why PayPal announced Monday that it was acquiring Paydiant, a Massachusetts-based software developer which has developed mobile wallets for Subway and Teeter Harris, among other retailers, as well as for MCX, the retailer group which includes Walmart and Best Buy.
The Paydiant buy immediately poses a problem for Ready to solve: Can he woo MCX’s large retailers, who want to lower the fees they currently pay to payment processors like PayPal?
Ferguson has a different challenge, which is boosting PayPal’s reach among consumers. While PayPal has a large customer base, there are a host of rival mobile wallets, including Apple Pay and Google Wallet, which recently beefed up its capabilities by buying technology from an erstwhile rival, Softcard.
PayPal is adding NFC capabilities to its PayPal Here mobile card reader, which currently can read swiped cards or newer credit and debit cards with chips. Apple Pay uses NFC. While it accounts for a small percentage of total transactions, the payment service has spurred demand by merchants for NFC-capable card equipment.
Supporting NFC is just one of many moves PayPal is making to make its payments attractive to consumers and merchants alike. Ferguson and Ready will have their hands full.
Photo courtesy of PayPal