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PayPal Wants to Be in Your TV, Your DVD Player and Your Car

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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 (s ebay) 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 (s aapl) or Android (s goog) 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

16 Responses to “PayPal Wants to Be in Your TV, Your DVD Player and Your Car”

  1. Steve Slater

    I have been a good Paypal customer for 8 years. And over the last year paypal has closed my account numerous times aggravateing me and my customers. Now they have closed my account permently because I filed a complant with the BBB. My company has been closed for a month now and I am on the edge of becomeing homeless because of there thoughless business tactics. I had done nothing wrong with my account, but they said they thought I was trying to fraud customers. Paypal has ruined my business and my life with out a care. Some day Scott will get his and he will know how it feels to be screwed over as he has screwed his customer. Paypal has more unhappy customers than any other company in the world. There a reason for this and it because they dont care who they screw over.

  2. First of all PayPal try to support all currencies in some major subcontinents. Later they go with conquering all media including cellphone, television set etc., It is failing with some currencies and causing merchant to choose as secondary option while selecting a payment gateway. It happens particularly in south east Asian Countries.

  3. philipcohen

    @ Jackie Henrion,

    That all sounds like it could have come straight from the eBay Dept of Spin.

    Why no mention of PayPal’s totally primitive and very merchant-unfriendly risk management—or don’t they ever hold any of your money.

    And what about PayPal’s totally unsatisfactory (non-existent?), and buyer-biased, transaction mediation, the total lack of professionalism thereof which makes it effectively a facilitator of criminal fraud by unscrupulous buyers on sellers—or have you never had an experience such as that either.

    Now come on, all you PayPal supporters are going to have to do better than this. And, you can be sure of one thing, there are only two types of PayPal users: those who have already had a bad experience with PayPal and those who will have a bad experience with PayPal; I just hope that when you do have your bad experience, it is not a too expensive lesson.

  4. Actually I like Paypal a lot! It was the most convenient thing to use on my website and their capability to pay by e-mail and have a virtual swiper for my shows gives me way more flexibility as a merchant. They also happen to be cheaper for me to use than a bank or credit card line. They also keep coming up with innovative ideas like micro-payments which I hope will allow me in the future mini-apple store for my fans, when the download technology catches up. Their customer payment, packing slip and shipping label features makes my interface professional and secure.

  5. DaALC

    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.

  6. 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.

  7. philipcohen

    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

  8. robert

    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.

  9. 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.