2016 will be a watershed year for the online payments industry. People across the globe are using their mobile devices and other internet services to do everything from checking out at the grocery store to paying for coffee at Starbucks, to sending rent payments. Mobile wallet services introduced by tech companies such as Apple and even Facebook are causing us to rethink the logistics of money.
One company has been at the forefront of this digital revolution, and although competition is growing in this space, it's managed to stay ahead and innovative, delivering profits for investors along the way.
PayPal (PYPL) - Get PayPal Holdings Inc Report began as Confinity, a security software company. In 2000, it merged with X.com, an online banking company founded by Tesla's Elon Musk. In 2002 it had its IPO and was scooped up by eBay to become the official method for paying for winning bids on the online auction house. Last July, PayPal it was spun off into a completely independent company.
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And PayPal has grown into a giant. In 2015 alone, the company processed 4.9 billion payments, more than a quarter of which were made with mobile technology. The company has 179 million active customer accounts and handles transactions in more than 200 markets worldwide and in more than 100 currencies. The opportunities here keep growing.
Today, the company released results from a comScore study showing PayPal converted online users into purchasers at a rate of 87.5%, leaps and bounds above the competitors.
"This comScore study shows that shoppers are completing their purchases with PayPal at almost twice the rate of legacy systems," said Bill Ready, the company's senior vice president of product and engineering, in a statement. "As more commerce moves to mobile, having an easy way to check out moves from a nice-to-have to a must-have. Last quarter, our customers made more than 15 million transactions a day on the PayPal platform, with 28% of them from mobile devices."
Last year, PayPal debuted its innovative One Touch product. This provides a method of authenticating users without needing a user name and password each time a purchase is made. In turn, this streamlines the process of mobile payment. Currently, 21 million customers around the world are using this service.
And just last week, the company announced that it will be extending its PayPal Credit product overseas to the U.K. PayPal Credit provides financing for purchases using the platform. In the U.S., 37% of PayPal users have taken out at least one line of credit, so an international expansion will likely increase the number of transactions made using PayPal. Look for this feature to spread to the rest of Europe before long.
PayPal will announce earnings results from the first quarter of 2016 on Wednesday, April 27. The consensus is expecting earnings of 35-to-37 cents per share on revenue of $2.46-to-$2.52 billion. The stock is currently sitting around $39.59. Goldman Sachs has a price target for PayPal shares of $45. This could be a good opportunity to get in on this innovative company as it continues to disrupt the way we pay for goods and services.
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This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no positions in the stocks mentioned.