"We're not just focused on payments," says David Marcus, PayPal's VP of mobile. "What happens before and after, that's where things get interesting." Already available at more than 9 million web retailers, the eBay division recently introduced Access--think Facebook Connect for money--to make it easier for verified users to shop online. Now PayPal is partnering with Home Depot (among other retailers) to push its platform into the physical world. Its vision:
Because PayPal lives in the cloud, you can access it from computers and tablets (for online purchases), and smartphones and kiosks (for in-store purchases).
"We don't want to be tethered to one technology," Marcus says, so PayPal intends to support everything from tap-to-pay consoles to entering a PIN code.
"We call it the 'oops' button," says Marcus of a mobile-wallet feature that gives customers anywhere from 7 to 30 days to change how they paid.
By tracking where you shop and what you buy (with your permission), PayPal can offer hypertargeted, location-based coupons at participating retailers.
Photograph by Flickr user Cresi Africa