EBay adds invoice payments to PayPal with BillSafe acquisition

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EBay is continuing its buying spree, snapping up Germany’s BillSafe, a payment-by-invoice provider. The acquisition will be rolled up into PayPal, which made a minority investment in BillSafe last year and collaborated on a joint online invoice payment tool for e-commerce customers. The price was not disclosed.

BillSafe allows customers to purchase a product immediately and pay for it by invoice later. This gives merchants and consumers another way to pay using PayPal. BillSafe is already used by 15 million account holders in Germany, where 19.6 percent of e-commerce transactions were paid by invoice. Paying by invoice is also the most popular form of payment in Austria, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands, said BillSafe.

Buying BillSafe adds to PayPal’s suite of tools for merchants who use PayPal. It already has BillMeLater, a service that allows customers to make a purchase immediately and then schedule payments at a later date. It’s a form of credit and it’s being used in PayPal’s new point-of-sale push, as a way for consumers to pay immediately and then change the funding source after a transaction. BillSafe allows PayPal to offer another secure payment option for consumers, who can inspect a product before they pay.

“German customers are extremely security-conscious, and they enjoy the convenience and safety of invoicing when they shop online. One of PayPal’s greatest assets is the security of our system, and we’re glad that we can now offer customers even more peace of mind with a payment method that they already know and prefer and that drives more sales for the merchants,” says Arnulf Keese, managing director of PayPal Germany. “Together with BillSafe, we can offer even more choices to our customers – whether they prefer to pay with their bank accounts, their credit cards or now through purchase on invoice,” Keese adds.

It’s unclear if PayPal will try to offer BillSafe outside of Europe. And it will be interesting to see if BillSafe is packaged up into X.commerce, eBay’s commerce operating system for merchants and retailers. The deal caps off a busy year for eBay, which previously bought Magento, GSI, WHERE, Zong, The Gifts Project and Hunch this year. EBay said the acquisition will not have a material impact on its later financial guidance.

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