PayPal, Amazon execs discuss teaming up on payments

Spencer Soper
Bloomberg Inc. and PayPal Holdings Inc. have discussed letting shoppers pay for Amazon purchases using their PayPal accounts, highlighting how PayPal can attract new partners since its 2015 split from Amazon rival EBay Inc.

“We have been in conversations with Amazon,” PayPal Chief Executive Officer Dan Schulman said Thursday in an interview with Bloomberg. “We’re closing in on 200 million users on our platform right now. At that scale, it’s hard for any retailer to think about not accepting PayPal.”

There are no details to announce, but Schulman said the conversations have focused on “how to use one another’s assets to the mutual benefit of our customers.”

A spokesman for Seattle-based Amazon declined to comment. PayPal stock pared its decline in extended trading Thursday by about 1.7 percent on the news. The shares were down 1.5 percent to $40.90 early Friday.

PayPal separated from EBay — Amazon’s onetime arch rival — to concentrate on expanding its electronic transactions business without being shackled to the slow-growing online marketplace. Schulman, who became CEO after the split, has been forging agreements in an effort to increase the number of people using PayPal and the frequency with which they use it.

Amazon has its own payment ambitions and hired Patrick Gauthier from San Jose, California-based PayPal in 2015 to lead its initiative. Amazon is balancing its desire to control payments with its customer-centric philosophy, given PayPal’s reach. PayPal on Thursday reported 197 million active customer accounts in the fourth quarter, with 31 transactions per account in the trailing 12 months. Amazon shoppers have asked whether the company would accept PayPal in Amazon customer discussion forums.

Amazon revived its own payments business in 2013 by letting shoppers use Amazon accounts to make purchases with other online merchants.