Paypal’s mission since its creation in Paolo Alto in 1998 has been to facilitate access to money and providing multiple, safe and seamless payment methods. The innovative cultural mindset of the payments company has led to a base of 295 million active PayPal accounts worldwide as of the third quarter of 2019, representing a 16 per cent year-on-year growth. What are the drivers behind PayPal’s global success? We caught up with Joachim Goyvaerts, director at PayPal Benelux & Ireland, to learn more about what the future holds for payments.
Paying should be as seamless an experience as possible. The payment process is a means to an end, and in an ideal world should be invisible to the consumer.
“The world of money will change dramatically in the next 10 years. PayPal will be there to help consumers and businesses make the most of the opportunities this presents,” explains Joachim Goyvaerts, Director at PayPal Benelux & Ireland.
PayPal joined the Luxembourg Financial ecosystem in 2007. From there, it operates a range of important executive functions including the CEO and CFO of PayPal Europe, finance and compliance. Since establishing in Luxembourg, the payments company has established a multi-cultural team and now employs around one hundred people from more than twenty countries.
“Luxembourg is a strategically important hub for PayPal’s European operations – we are registered as a bank here, enabling us to provide PayPal services seamlessly across the European Union under single market banking regulations.”
THE FUTURE IS MOBILE
Mobile payments have been gaining popularity, setting expectations for a bright future across the globe. According to the Global Mobile Payment Market report, the market is projected to grow at an annual rate of 33 per cent between 2019 and 2026, reaching 457 billion dollars in 2026.
“PayPal is contributing to the future of money by giving people the power to manage and move their money easily, quickly and securely, especially through smartphones and other mobile devices.We were one of the very first companies to see the potential of the smartphone to transform commerce.”
Mobile is helping to satisfy fast-changing customer expectations with easy, seamless payment experiences.
“Paying should be as seamless an experience as possible.The payment process is a means to an end, and in an ideal world should be
invisible to the consumer. PayPal has long enabled such seamless payments: for example, when you arrange a vacation stay with Airbnb or hail a ride through Uber, your payment will happen behind the scenes without you having to do anything. We expect these invisible payments to grow in scale in the coming years.”
For Joachim Goyvaerts, the very nature of money is changing due to the way people consume goods and services.
“We are in a period of transformation. Money is going digital, much as music and movies have gone. The old ways to pay, such as cheques are fading in importance as people and business see the benefits of paying and being paid digitally, especially for trading across borders.”
Does it open doors for a cashless society? “Cash will have a role for some years to come, and it’s important to respect customer choice, but the future is digital.”
People who see something they want on their favorite social media site increasingly want to be able to buy it right there, rather than hunt for it on a company website.
INNOVATION IN ITS DNA
“We’re always looking for ways we can apply new technologies to help make money work better for people and businesses.Yet there are a host of questions to be answered when applying technology to financial services. Does it genuinely improve on what we currently have? Are there any regulatory concerns?”
At PayPal, new technologies often help behind the scenes, for example improving risk management and fraud prevention.
“PayPal has developed these capabilities for many years to protect its customers. For example, we use machine learning models to leverage data science and AI algorithms and transaction history information to predict payment trends. This can help us approve more transactions without increasing losses, creating an even better customer experience.”
With more social platforms looking to integrate direct, on-platform selling tools, social commerce looks to be the next
major retail shift. The capacity to guide shoppers from their feeds to the check- out holds major potential – and while we still have a way to go before this becomes a major shopping trend – it is gradually evolving.
“One trend that we’re already seeing is the rise of social commerce. People who see some- thing they want on their favourite social media site increasingly want to be able to buy it right there, rather than hunt for it on a company website. As the pioneer of mobile payments, PayPal is well placed to help.”
According to the latest PayPal mCommerce Index, 33 per cent of consumers and businesses surveyed have engaged in social commerce.
CONQUERING THE CHINESE MARKET
In China, paying with your phone has be- come a daily gesture, leading the country to become a mobile-first nation. While the Chinese financial market was untouched by foreign payment providers up until now, PayPal became the first payment platform to get a payment licence in the country in 2019, giving the company an opportunity to leave a significant footprint in this rap- idly growing financial market.
“We look forward to partnering with Chi- na’s financial institutions and technology platforms, providing a more comprehensive set of payment solutions to businesses and consumers, both in China and globally.”
DIGITAL REGULATION REQUIRES FRESH THINKING
The payments company is partnering with the Luxembourg National Research Fund’s (FNR) PEARL programme, to establish the first public private FinTech Chair at the University of Luxembourg, with the aim of recruiting internationally recognised scientists to develop and strengthen thinking on financial services regulation.
This partnership contributes to expand further the global brand of Luxembourg as an innovative and dynamic market; at- tract world-class researchers from around the world and spark interest from other innovative firms to bring their projects to Luxembourg to be tested under the umbrella of this new research facility.
“The PayPal-FNRA Pearl Fintech Chair enables us to support the Luxembourg government’s ambition to make Luxembourg a world leader in innovative digital financial services.We are partnering with governments, regulators and academic experts to increase understanding of how technology can trans- form financial services for the benefit of all.”
The newly created research group will explore the future of financial services in a data driven environment, considering a broad range of angles, from usability, onboarding and operational efficiency to regulatory supervision.