"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