June 12, 2006 The points of contact where the real world meets the virtual world are somewhat akin to the fabled end of the rainbow and eBay’s grand plan for ownership of a sizeable slab of the pot-of-gold became a little clearer last week when subsidiary PayPal introduced the PayPal Plus Credit Card - a MasterCard that can be used both online and anywhere that MasterCard is accepted offline. It seems like the eBay global garage sale has truly assembled a dream team of online properties on the back of its growth to become the world’s largest online marketplace. Last quarter, eBay traded US$10 billion worth of goods and Paypal was already the most preferred electronic payment method among eBay users before it was acquired in October, 2002. PayPal now has 100 million account holders and eBay has 200 million users (up from 147 million a year ago) and the recently acquired Skype VOIP communications company has 100 million users, so we forsee a healthy future for PayPal Plus. Not surprisingly, there’s a generous rewards program that applies to all online or offline purchases and just to ensure things get going with some immediate impetus, cardholders can take advantage of a special introductory offer – 0% APR on purchases and balance transfers until 2007. This limited-time offer is good through August 31, 2006, and will automatically appear on eBay items over US$50 as long as sellers accept PayPal and have not opted out of displaying PayPal Buyer Credit messages on their listings.
Founded in 1998, PayPal experienced fantastic growth despite earning itself a very dodgy reputation from users whose accounts were often locked for little reason. Despite continuing issues and many unhappy users, the reputation improved and growth continued as the Paypal system enables any individual or business with an email address to securely send and receive payments online. It quickly became the global leader in online payment solutions and now has 100 million account members in 55 countries. Located in San Jose, California, PayPal was acquired by eBay Inc. in October, 2002 and many of the pre-EBay problems are now being addressed and overcome.