PayPal chief hits Australia, wants POS payments


blog It appears as if PayPal global president Scott Thompson (pictured) has landed in Australia briefly. We’re not sure why he’s here, at this point, but he did stop in for a brief interview with Business Spectator supremo Alan Kohler as a guest on Kohler’s Inside Business slot on the ABC. Perhaps the most interesting part of the interview is Thompson’s statement that PayPal could become a viable option for customers to pay for items at normal retail store checkouts — instead of just online:

“Well one of the big trends that’s happening in Australia and around the world is all those devices in retail stores are actually now being connected to networks, and we view that as a massive opportunity for PayPal because now we can be a tender type, an option for payment at point of sale because that device is essentially a computer when it’s connected to a network.”

According to Thompson, PayPal is working on three options for retail store payments — one will be through a mobile phone, while he didn’t disclose what the other two options will be, although he said “They’re not going to ride the existing rails that the credit cards do” but will instead have a whole new infrastructure and format.

Personally I’d like to see PayPal clean up its act a little if it’s going to take on the point of sale arena or even expand its operations in Australia further. Compared with the major banks, its customer service is not fantastic, and it can be a little hard to use its products sometimes — its website is dated and can be quite hard to navigate. Then there’s the fact that the way it interacts with your bank accounts and credit cards isn’t as transparent as it could be — we’ve had a few transactions shuffled around recently that we didn’t expect.

But on the flip side, of course, the banks can always use more competition ;)

Credit: PayPal


  1. Coincidentally I just finished watching the ever so evasive Mr Thomson here

    I found it amusing to hear him say:

    > Well one of the big trends that’s happening in Australia and around the world is all those devices in retail stores are actually now being connected to networks

    Umm, Mr Thomson, in Australia we have had connected point of sale terminals since 1988. Yes, that’s right. This is not the USA, get it?

    I mean the USA (except for some very tiny players) is not yet issuing chipped debit and credit cards.

  2. I’m with you Renai, Paypal has some serious work to do before they could gain the trust needed for widescale adoption at POS.

    Secondly, what’s the advantage of Paypay at POS anyway? The money is going to be funded from your existing bank accounts, so to me it looks like they just want to get a piece of the pie.

    I also would of thought that in order for Paypal to expand into this area, their APRA license is going to need significant modification to permit it. I for one would be filing submissions with APRA to influence the attachment of additional licensing conditions if they do move into this market.

  3. Don’t think POS terminals at Coles/Woolworths. Think and NFC and the like. If all it takes to read a CC is a fancy smartphone — then everyone potentially owns a network connected POS. And that’s a market paypal wants to play in.

    On the subject of paypal — does anyone have a suggestion for an australian alternative for taking credit card payments online without a merchant account?

  4. Paypal can kiss my ass-they shoudl be the targets of Navy Seals!!!

    they get away every day with ripping people off of their hard earned money-have you ever tried to speak to real person at paypal -ain’t happeneing

    Shame on you for providing them free advertising


  5. It’s not just about trust or being useful or whatnot. Just try and read their Ts&Cs, I dare you.

    Beyond that, I avoid all electronic payments as much as I can, simply because of the paper trail. In paypal’s case, that’ll go straight through to the states and that naturally includes at least some of their 1251 TLAgencies doing something or other with “homeland security”. But even if that wouldn’t be the case, the paper trail is reason enough to stick to cash for as long as I can. Anonymous electronic payments, anyone?

  6. Banks are the gatekeepers to the funds held in their accounts. The banks will just block PayPal if they aren’t going to pay the banks for the privilege and they can get away with it because Debit/Credit aren’t going anywhere.

    • I hate to break the news to you, but Visa and Mastercard are owned by a consortium of, yes you guessed it, BANKS!!!

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