INTU) and Square, which have begun to put pressure on the likes of VeriFone ( PAY), have demonstrated the ability to service a growing need for person-to-person transactions. I've chronicled the potential effect of Apple's ( AAPL) entry into the realm of e-commerce. Unlike VeriFone, whose stock has lost roughly 50% of its value since we began following these developments, eBay ( EBAY), on the strength of its growing PayPal business, has gone pretty much unscathed. AMZN), eBay is a force to be reckoned with in e-commerce. The question, though, is how much of eBay's long-term growth should investors rely upon beyond the strength of PayPal? Said another way, will eBay continue to serve as a thriving marketplace storefront for ecommerce or will the company migrate into a merchant/transaction business for PayPal? Both require different sets of expectations and assumptions. But there are indications that management has begun to focus on the latter, which presents a different set of concerns altogether. Earlier this year, eBay inked a deal with NCR Corp. ( NCR), which specializes in point-of-sale (POS) technology. The agreement allows for NCR's POS systems to integrate with PayPal's mobile services that will enable customers to pay for goods and services using their smartphones. The deal will also present PayPal users the option to use NCR's Convenience-Go app for gas stations and convenience stores.
That's all well and good. I applaud eBay's management for looking at all possibilities to expand PayPal's mobile capabilities further. I also won't argue that PayPal's reach will benefit greatly by more mobile adoption. The concern, though, is that these initiatives also push PayPal right into the crosshairs of Apple, which is rumored to have payment/e-wallet capabilities built into its next iPhone. It remains to be seen what Apple's mobile payment services will look like. But it's safe to assume that any e-wallet functionality that Apple builds into the next iPhone, which will also include biometrics security, will have distinct advantages over a PayPal app. eBay's management is looking ahead -- thinking that the deal with NCR will help lessen the impact. It's a good gamble. But how much value will it bring? Follow @saintssense This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.