Is PayPal Still a Competitive Solution? What Merchants Need to Know

PayPal has been around and growing in popularity since 1998. With well over 100 million users and more than 7 million businesses, it’s safe to say this payment giant knows what it’s doing. However, there’s been some questions recently as to whether or not the processor is keeping up with the times.

Why? While it’s one of the most trusted brands in ecommerce, its fastest growing demographic today is the 50-and-up category. Experts are referring to it as the “legacy solution” – it’s still ahead of its competitors, but beginning to show its age.

Unlike most credit card payment gateways, PayPal acts as a third party that connects directly with your bank accounts and credit cards. With ever-shifting trends and consumer needs, the processor has been forced to venture outside its core competency and compete for customer’s core banking services.

To complicate matters further, PayPal’s competitors – like Block (Square) and SoFi – now have U.S. banking licenses; this means they can now directly acquire deposits, lend money and issue cards. Meanwhile, Stripe is putting together meaningful services that address the needs of the small business market. Other partnerships have taken place like Fiserv and First Data that can bring even more to the table.

PayPal’s Big Problem

Ultimately, many of the solutions the provider offers are just old. This has made it challenging to remain relevant to users and manage the cost of new account acquisition. PayPal has also had its fair share of hiccups along the way. For example, PayPal’s attempts to incent new consumers onto its platform by offering a high-value rewards bonus for signing up backfired. It ended with the giant having to purge millions of accounts that snatched up the bonus and took off.

Another big problem has been reaching younger consumers. The younger generation prefers to pick and choose their financial services based on their unique needs and preferences. That isn’t always easy with PayPal, which has a long list of mixed reviews and hints of friction. The bottom line: while PayPal does have a lot going for it, it also has a lot of room for improvement.

If you’re a small business owner looking for a payment processor and are considering a PayPal merchant account, make sure that you do thorough research and compare all your options. Make sure you’re partnering with a provider that understands your business type, can offer the latest technology and features and understands the challenges you face.

Blair Thomas has been a music producer, bouncer, screenwriter and for over a decade has been the proud Co-Founder of eMerchantBroker, the highest rated high risk merchant account processor in the country. He has climbed in the Himalayas, survived a hurricane, and lived on a gold mine in the Yukon. He currently calls Thailand his home with a lifetime collection of his favorite books.