PayPal doesn’t just want to be in your mobile phone, or behind the transfer of virtual goods in social networks, according to President Scott Thompson. He sees the company becoming the default payment engine for your television, your car, your DVD player and even your fridge.

PayPal doesn’t just want to be in your mobile phone, or behind the transfer of virtual goods in social networks such as Facebook, where it’s one of the options for the new Facebook Credit payment system, according to President Scott Thompson. He told me during an interview in Toronto recently that he sees the company becoming the default payment engine for your television, your car, your DVD player and even your fridge. Thompson also said that the online payment business is exploding with new competitors in a way he has never seen before, but that PayPal is confident it can retain its edge as more and more transactions move online.

Thompson took issue with critics who have suggested that the company hasn’t been as nimble or as aggressive in the mobile space as it should have been. “We’ve been investing in mobile since 2005, and we continue to invest and improve,” Thompson said. “We fundamentally believe that mobile is a big wave, and one we want to be a part of and take advantage of.” However, he added that PayPal doesn’t want to simply focus on the iPhone or Android devices, that its vision is much larger. “Anything that is at the end of a network should have payment ability,” he said, including portable devices but also more prosaic products such as your TV, your DVD player — even your car.

At some point in the future, Thompson suggested during a keynote interview at this week’s mesh conference (disclosure: I am one of the organizers of the conference), cars will have the intelligence to be able to handle encryption and security, and therefore be able to do payments as well. “Companies are building automation into cars, so that when you pull into a parking spot and you park for 62 minutes, you pay for that 62 minutes,” he said. “Why can’t the car authenticate you when you’re dispensing fuel? Why can’t it authenticate you when you go through a toll booth?” All that is required is a secure payment and authentication system, said Thompson, and that is what PayPal aims to provide.

And what about competitors like Square — the mobile payment startup from Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey — or Zong, which recently raised $15 million? Thompson said that Square is “a neat little piece of technology that I’m not sure is going to solve a big problem going forward,” but that he likes the company and has “a good relationship” with Dorsey. The PayPal president also said that the competition in the payment sector “is like nothing I’ve ever seen — it’s really intense,” but that it was a sign of the market potential and that it wasn’t likely to be a “winner-take-all kind of game.”

In the short video clip embedded below, Thompson talks about the company’s strategy and its vision of a future with multiple devices handling payments:

Related content from GigaOM Pro (sub req’d): Mobile Market Overview Q1 2010

Feature image courtesy of Flickr user Andres Rueda

By Mathew Ingram

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  1. Paypal has definitely become the best way to purchase things online

  2. Paypal has been wholly unsuccessful in all of its attempts to do anything innovative or beyond its core business. For all the money and energy spent on its “platform” thing, a measly $30 million has been transacted through it? Sheesh.

  3. Paypal wants everything to get ur money

  4. I won’t use it. I don’t use it. They’re not very consumer-friendly. They’re not really, in some serious ways, a payment engine that can be taken seriously. Here’s one area perhaps where a little bit of regulation can be better.

    Give me Amex any day when there’s a problem with something I ordered.

    Paypal is great, actually, until problems arise. And when problems arise (whether or not they are really problems for real), it’s a software program you’re dealing with — a software program that seems to like to hoard as much money as it can.

    It can be useful, but if Paypal were my seatbelt and my airbag, I’d be petrified.

    They need to “get real” — let’s see how convenient things are then. If they still are, then great.

  5. Draft Media Release—Confidential

    It is with great sadness that “Noise” Donahoe (aka “Peter Principle”), eBay’s Chief Headless Turkey, announces the probable demise of eBay’s most ugly daughter, PayPal. PayPal is about to be stricken by a particularly virulent strain of Visa+CyberSource, accompanied by insurmountable financial institutions complications and merchant dissatisfaction. PayPal’s health may therefore be expected to deteriorate and, if ultimately not completely incapacitated, will most likely be eventually confined to what little there is by then left of the Donahoe-devastated eBay Marketplaces. There is no cure this condition, and the “eBafia Don” is particularly saddened by the inevitable presumption that it is unlikely that PayPal will be able to continue to underpin eBay’s bottom line in the future.

    A detailed examination of and prognosis for PayPal at

  6. thanks for the article. you just reminded me that i forgot to close my account which i just did…:)

  7. thanks for the article. you just reminded me that i forgot to close my papypal account which i just did…:)

  8. Now all PayPal needs to do is secure themselves better, so that we don’t keep receiving “Your PayPal Account has been Suspended” e-mails. THe current situation does not give that warm fuzzy feeling.

  9. I hate paypal. charge to much for transactions, plus the ebay charges, terrible.
    Plus getting hold of their tech support is a pain and a half.
    Plus I read to many stories of them just taking peoples money, closing accounts, without any propper reason.

  10. [...] wants to be your offline pal, [...]


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