PayPal declares war on Square, iZettle, Payleven, will move “aggressively” into offline retail

2013 will be an interesting year for online and mobile payments.

Ebay CEO John Donahoe just announced that Paypal is getting serious about capturing a piece of the mobile payments business in stores and restaurants – a space where Square is currently getting a lot of PR love.

PayPal will partner with NCR, the giant cash register maker, to allow clients to settle restaurant bills from their smarthphone – without having to ask for the check. This is a pretty big partnership, which is guaranteed to hurt Square.

Square  has a similar offering called (Square Wallet), but the problem for square is that NCR has a strong customer base among retailers. If NCR and PayPal can make it convenient enough for the existing NCR customers to add this functionality, it might be hard for Square to convince retailers to switch.

As NCR says on its blog about the partnership:

Where we have tens of thousands of NCR customer locations that can be mobile-pay enabled, they have a global customer base of 117 million accounts.

Ebay CEO John Donahoe seems determined to stay ahead of Square. “If we can capture only one percent of offline retail, we it doubles the size of Paypal,” the FT quotes Donahue, who added that Ebay would go after the “white space” of offline retail “aggressively”.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.  A few European players will also be affected by the move, like Square challengers iZettle and Payleven (Rocket Internet).

PayPal and Ebay pack enormous firepower to make this work. For the year 2012, Ebay reported $ 14,1 billion in revenues. The company also reported that it is attracting a lot of new mobile payment users, especially among young consumers in emerging markets like Brazil and Russia.

Here’s what Elon Musk says abuot PayPal’s:

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Raf Weverbergh

Editor of whiteboard. Raf Weverbergh was a magazine journalist whose work appeared in magazines like Rolling Stone, Playboy, Mail on Sunday, Publico and South China Morning Post. He is the co-founder of FINN, a corporate communications agency where he advises startups and multinationals on their PR and Mustr, the easiest media database for PR professionals. You can contact him on Twitter, Linkedin or Skype (rafweverbergh).

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