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From: JakeStraw9/26/2011 9:58:34 AM
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eBay recently revealed new PayPal technology to more than 100 large retailers; PayPal continues to be the engine of eBay's growth.

PayPal users will be able to pay for goods via PayPal in several different ways. One way will be through a physical card that they can swipe just like a credit card.

thestockadvisors.com 

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From: Sr K12/16/2011 4:53:57 PM
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EBay Offers $10 In-Store Discount

By Danielle Kucera - Dec 16, 2011 4:32 PM ET

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Amazon drew criticism from Senator Olympia Snowe, a Maine Republican, last week for offering a 5 percent discount to entice people to use a new mobile application to compare prices with physical stores. While EBay also offers an app for price checking it doesn’t actively compete with retailers on its site.

EBay is “trying to be the anti-Amazon in a sense,” said Colin Sebastian, an analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co. in San Francisco. The company is “positioning itself as a partner with traditional retailers, where as Amazon is trying to accelerate that shift away from stores.”

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EBay has developed relationships with brick-and-mortar stores this year through the $2.4 billion acquisition of GSI Commerce Inc., which manages websites and inventory for 180 retailers, including the ones participating in EBay’s promotion.

bloomberg.com 

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From: Glenn Petersen2/21/2012 11:28:43 AM
2 Recommendations   of 7730
 
Slightly OT:

'PayPal Mafia' Gets Richer

Yelp and Facebook's IPOs will give another boost to Silicon Valley's influential PayPal alumni

By Ari Levy
Bloomberg Businessweek
February 21, 2012, 12:01 AM EST

The fortunes of the so-called PayPal Mafia are poised to grow.

Jeremy Stoppelman and Max Levchin own about $200 million in Yelp Inc. shares heading into the company’s initial public offering, setting up the latest payday for PayPal Inc.’s former executives. Stoppelman, co-founder and chief executive officer of Yelp, owns 11.1 percent of the company, while Levchin, the chairman, has 13.5 percent. The user-generated review site announced plans last week to sell shares for $12 to $14 apiece in an IPO, valuing Yelp at as much as $838 million.

The Yelp executives join Facebook Inc. investors Peter Thiel and Reid Hoffman and Space Exploration Technologies Corp. founder Elon Musk on a short list of ex-PayPal employees poised to generate big-time riches from pending IPOs. PayPal, which developed an online payment system, was purchased by EBay Inc. for $1.5 billion in 2002, making many of its early employees rich and eager to pursue new endeavors.

“PayPal did a great job of producing a very talented class of entrepreneurs,” said Eric Jackson, the company’s first marketing director and author of “The PayPal Wars.” “They’ve gone on to do amazing things in Silicon Valley and the tech industry.”

Stoppelman, 34, co-founded San Francisco-based Yelp in 2004, after serving as PayPal’s vice president of engineering from 2000 to 2003. Levchin, 36, has been chairman of Yelp since 2004. After working as PayPal’s chief technology officer, he founded Slide Inc., a Web application developer that was purchased by Google Inc. in 2010.

Both executives were among a group of colleagues who came to be known in Silicon Valley as the PayPal Mafia. The moniker was codified by an article in 2007 in Fortune magazine.

Vince Sollitto, a Yelp spokesman who also used to work at PayPal, declined to comment.

Yelp, which first filed to go public in November, plans to raise as much as $100 million in the offering. Its revenue rose 74 percent to $83.3 million last year, as the number of monthly unique visitors jumped 67 percent to 66 million.

While Yelp will go public first, it will be dwarfed in size by Facebook. The world’s largest social-networking site filed earlier this month to raise $5 billion in the largest Internet IPO on record. The Menlo Park, California-based company is considering a valuation of $75 billion to $100 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

Facebook’s seed funding in 2004 came from Thiel and Hoffman, who are now venture capitalists. Thiel, a Facebook board member, owns a stake worth more than $2.5 billion at the high end of the range being considered. While Hoffman’s stake isn’t disclosed in the prospectus, the website Who Owns Facebook estimates he owns 0.5 percent, or about $500 million based on a valuation of $100 billion. Hoffman is also the founder and biggest shareholder of LinkedIn Corp., with stock valued at about $1.8 billion following its IPO.

Thiel’s Founders Fund, which includes other PayPal alumni, is poised to reap additional gains from the IPO of SpaceX, the private rocket-launch business founded by Musk. In an interview this month, Musk said “there’s a good chance that SpaceX goes public next year.”

Musk, whose main job is Tesla Motors Inc.’s CEO, also is chairman of solar installer SolarCity Corp. That company is preparing to file for an IPO as early as March, a person familiar with the matter said this month.

Musk and Thiel were rivals in the early online payment days — before their companies merged, forming what became PayPal. Before PayPal’s IPO in 2002, Musk was the biggest individual shareholder, with 11.7 percent ownership. Thiel owned 4.6 percent, and Levchin controlled 2.9 percent.

PayPal’s former operating chief, David Sacks, is now founder and CEO of Yammer Inc., a provider of social-networking software to businesses. Its service is used by more than 100,000 companies. While Sacks isn’t talking about an IPO filing, his startup is benefitting from the popularity of Facebook and growth of social media.

“Facebook is the inspiration for a lot of what we’ve done in a parallel universe,” Sacks said in an interview with “Bloomberg West.” “They’re essentially connecting the whole world. The scale is staggering.”

Levy is a reporter for Bloomberg News.

businessweek.com 

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (7695)3/9/2012 7:05:10 PM
From: Sr K
   of 7730
 
eBay added to S&P 100

S&P Indices Announces Changes to U.S. Index

finance.yahoo.com 

NEW YORK, March 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- S&P 500 constituents Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE:LLY - News), Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE:APC - News), eBay Inc. (NASD:EBAY - News), Simon Property Group, Inc. (NYSE:SPG - News), Accenture plc  (NYSE:ACN - News) and Starbucks Corp. (NASD:SBUX - News) will replace S&P 500 constituents Entergy Corp. (NYSE:ETR - News), Xerox Corp. (NYSE:XRX - News), Weyerhaeuser Co. (NYSE:WY - News), Alcoa, Inc. (NYSE:AA - News), Avon Products, Inc. (NYSE:AVP - News) and Sprint Nextel Corp. (NYSE:S) respectively in the S&P 100 index after the close of trading on Friday, March 16. All companies being removed from the S&P 100 index will remain in the S&P 500 index. All companies being added to the S&P 100 index are more representative of the U.S. mega-cap equity space.

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From: hdl4/19/2012 9:42:59 PM
   of 7730
 
hot as a pistol

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From: Glenn Petersen4/25/2012 3:45:15 PM
   of 7730
 
EBAY should try to acquire this company:

Square Payment Pace Rises 25% in Niche Coveted by EBay

By Danielle Kucera
Bloomberg
Apr 25, 2012 11:00 AM CT

Square Inc., maker of credit-card readers for smartphones and tablets, has increased its payment volume 25 percent since March, when EBay Inc. (EBAY)’s PayPal showed off a new mobile scanner and underscored growth in the field.

Square, founded in 2009, is processing transactions at an annualized rate of $5 billion, up from $4 billion a month ago, as more consumers embrace mobile payments, Chief Operating Officer Keith Rabois said in an interview. The San Franciscocompany is making cash from sales before 5 p.m. on any day available in merchants’ accounts on the next business day, compared with as many as five days out for other processors.

The market may top $170 billion in transactions by 2015, up from about $60 billion last year, according to Juniper Research Ltd. Square’s rivals include Intuit Inc. and Paypal, which has said its mobile-payment volume will jump 75 percent this year to $7 billion. To lure merchants, Square is speeding access to funds.

“Sole proprietors and small businesses live and die by their cash flow,” Rabois said in an interview. “They don’t have access to capital; banks don’t give them loans. They need to take the money they make today and use it to pay bills, buy things and pay employees the next day, so having access to funds is super-crucial for them.”

Square, which is closely held, was created by Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter Inc. Investors in Square include Sequoia Capital and Khosla Ventures.

Waiting for Money

Before the appearance of services such as Square, merchants grew accustomed to waiting for credit-card payments to translate into cash. Normally, a payment is evaluated for risk exposure, transferred to the merchant’s bank and sent through a national network, or automated clearinghouse, before it brings cash to a seller’s account. That can take two to five days.

Square declines to say how it reduces the process to a single day, citing competitive reasons. The company doesn’t release its financial results, and won’t say whether it is profitable.

Square’s technology enables U.S. businesses to handle payments through Apple Inc.’s iPhone or iPad, or through devices running on Google Inc.’s Android software. The card reader plugs into the headphone jack of the mobile device. The reader, introduced in 2010, is available at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT), Target Corp. (TGT) and Apple outlets.

Payments processors are pushing deeper into the mobile-payment market with smartphone readers that allow merchants to accept payments in any location. Last month, PayPal announced PayPal Here, a device that competes with Square’s card reader. It charges merchants 2.7 percent on transactions, less than Square’s 2.75 percent.

Adding Staff

Both PayPal and Square accept cards from MasterCard Inc. (MA), Visa Inc. (V), Discover Financial Services (DFS) and American Express Co. (AXP)About 200,000 merchants have signed up for PayPal Here, EBay said earlier this month.

More than 1 million are using Square to accept credit cards, according to the company.

Square, is aiming to double its staff to 500 by the end of the year. The company hired Ricardo Reyes as vice president of communications and brand marketing earlier this month. Reyes previously ran communications at Tesla Motors Inc. and Google’s (GOOG)YouTube.

To contact the reporter on this story: Danielle Kucera in San Francisco at dkucera6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Tom Giles at tgiles5@bloomberg.net

bloomberg.com 

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To: Glenn Petersen who wrote (7698)4/27/2012 5:43:14 PM
From: Sr K
   of 7730
 
Jack Dorsey was on "Charlie Rose" Apr 26. Early in the program, he said both the Obama and Romney campaigns are accepting payments over Square. The interview is ~16 minutes. I'm watching it on the Bloomberg App for iPad.

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From: hdl6/28/2012 5:12:01 PM
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has cooled off some.

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From: Glenn Petersen7/28/2012 7:34:40 PM
1 Recommendation   of 7730
 
Behind eBay’s Comeback

By JAMES B. STEWART
New York Times
July 27, 2012

Remember Myspace, Friendster, eToys, Webvan, Urban Fetch, Pets.com? Like meteors, they burned with dazzling brilliance before turning shareholder dollars to ash. EBay, Yahoo and AOL, the dominant Internet triumvirate circa 2004, seemed destined for a similar fate. The conventional wisdom has been that once decline sets in at an Internet company, it’s irreversible.

But that was before eBay’s latest earnings surprise, which sent its stock soaring and had analysts scrambling to raise their projections. “Can Internet companies ever turn around? The answer has been no,” Ken Sena, Internet analyst at Evercore, told me this week. “But now, there’s eBay. The answer may turn out to be yes.”

If so, eBay’s success has big implications for struggling companies like Yahoo and AOL, not to mention more recent sensations that have already lost some luster, like Zynga, Groupon and even Facebook, whose shares tumbled this week after its first earnings report as a public company disappointed investors. “EBay has demonstrated that it’s possible to turn the corner even against long odds,” said David Spitz, president and chief operating officer of ChannelAdvisor, an e-commerce consulting company.

EBay shares hit a peak of over $58 in 2004 and made its chief executive, Meg Whitman, a Silicon Valley celebrity. But by November 2007, when she stepped down to enter politics, the telltale signs of decline had set in. Its stock was slumping. Its dominant online auction business had matured, and growth had slowed. Sellers complained about higher fees and poor support. That year, eBay wrote off $1.4 billion on its poorly conceived $2.5 billion acquisition of the calling service Skype, recording its first loss as a public company. Analysts worried that eBay had lost its quirky soul, and was abandoning the flea market auction model that had made it distinctive and dominant in online auctions. By early 2009, its stock was barely over $10, down over 80 percent from its peak.

Ms. Whitman was succeeded by a former Bain & Company managing director, John Donahoe. “One of the unique things about the Internet is a company can be a white-hot success and become a global brand and reach global scale in just a few years — that’s the good news,” he told me this week. “But then somebody can turn around and do it to you. There’s constant disruption. One of the first things I had to do here was face reality. EBay was getting disrupted.”

Little more than four years after taking charge, a buoyant Mr. Donahoe sounded like the chief executive of a surging start-up when he announced eBay’s latest results on July 18. So thoroughly has eBay been transformed that he didn’t even mention its traditional auction business. “Our multiyear effort is paying off,” he said. Profit more than doubled and revenue jumped 23 percent. “EBay is revitalized. We believe the best is yet to come.” In a stock market struggling with recession fears and the European debt crisis, eBay stock this week hit a six-year high.

How has eBay done it when so many others have failed?

Excitement about eBay’s prospects has little to do with its traditional auction business, or even its core e-commerce operations, although its marketplace division posted solid results and had its best quarter since 2006, the company said. Most of its growth came from mobile retailing and its PayPal online payments division, a business it acquired in 2002 for what now looks like a bargain $1.5 billion.

As consumers embrace shopping on their smartphones, “mobile continues to be a game-changer,” Mr. Donahoe said. He noted that 90 million users had downloaded eBay’s mobile app and that 600,000 customers made their first mobile purchase during the most recent quarter. “A woman’s handbag is purchased on eBay mobile every 30 seconds,” he said. “Mobile is revolutionizing how people shop and pay.”

“It’s hard to think of many companies that benefit from mobile,” Mr. Sena said. “Usually it means more competition. But clearly, eBay is one of them. EBay is offering a one-click payment solution. You don’t have to type in a credit card number or PIN. It’s just one click on your mobile phone.”

Mr. Spitz said he was recently stopped at a traffic light and the sun was bothering his eyes. By the time the light turned green, he had used his phone to order and pay for sunglasses. “This is what commerce anytime, anywhere means,” he said. “It’s here.”

Mr. Donahoe deserves credit not only for recognizing that smartphones would change the shopping experience, but for acting on it, Mr. Spitz said. “EBay under Mr. Donahoe pivoted hard in this direction,” he said.

Mr. Donahoe confirms that, saying: “We saw the mobile revolution early and we made a big bet across the entire company. We saw that mobile was an important factor for our customers. It was becoming the central control device in their lives. We didn’t worry if it cannibalized our existing business, because we knew it was what our customers wanted.”

The smartphone “has blurred the line between e-commerce and off-line retail,” Mr. Donahoe continued. “Four years ago, you had to be in front of a laptop or desktop to shop online. Now you can do it seven days, 24 hours. We’re going to have to drop the ‘e’ from e-commerce.”

Retailers have warmed to the new eBay. “They’re a great partner,” Gerald L. Storch, chairman and chief executive of Toys “R” Us, told me this week. “In an omni-channel retail world, mobile, social, Internet, physical stores — they’re all linked. Customers want to interact with our brand at every level. EBay is especially strong in mobile and payment systems, but they address all those areas and help us compete. We do everything with them.”

Amazon was supposed to have crushed eBay by now with its bigger scale and state-of-the-art inventory and delivery systems. That didn’t happen, but Amazon remains eBay’s biggest competitive threat. Amazon continues to invest in its delivery systems and it, too, has an effective mobile app and one-click payment system.

Even so, many analysts see plenty of room for both Amazon and eBay, and perhaps even more competitors. “When you look at e-commerce as a share of overall consumer spending, it’s not even 10 percent worldwide,” Mr. Spitz said. “There’s plenty of room for growth.”

Mr. Donahoe agreed. “We’ve never viewed the world as a zero-sum game with Amazon,” he said. “There’s plenty of room for multiple winners.”

Moreover, eBay is likely to benefit from its global reach and scale as e-commerce expands. “Consumers aren’t going to download 30 apps from individual retailers, but they will download both eBay and Amazon,” Mr. Spitz said. EBay and PayPal apps already rank among the top 10 mobile apps, eBay said.

And it’s obviously in retailers’ interests to prevent Amazon from becoming an e-commerce monopoly. EBay stresses, without mentioning Amazon by name, that it doesn’t compete with its retail customers. Some sellers have complained that when Amazon spots a hot product, it starts promoting and selling it itself at lower prices.

As Mr. Storch put it: “We do sell Kindle Fires and other Amazon products, but when it comes to retail, eBay helps us succeed. Amazon is the competition.”

The dynamics of e-commerce aside, several broad themes emerge from eBay’s turnaround:

EBay had to break with its past and seize new opportunities. “It was clear the world had innovated around eBay and eBay had stayed with the same formula,” Mr. Donahoe said. “Saying that was considered heresy. With any company that’s been this successful, there’s enormous momentum to keep doing what you’ve been doing and hope the world will go back to what it used to be.”

At the same time, EBay didn’t entirely abandon its roots — it’s still an e-commerce company. But “we had to make changes that were unpopular with subsets of our customers and other people. You have to have the conviction to do what you know is right,” Mr. Donahoe said. “We spent three years fixing the fundamentals and tried not to worry about what everyone else was saying.”

Technological innovation is critical. “We stepped on the gas with innovation,” Mr. Donahoe said. “We’re more technology- and innovation-driven than we’ve ever been. Mobile gave us the opportunity to start with a clean slate from a technology perspective.” Less than two years ago, eBay acquired Critical Path Software, which was helping to develop eBay’s mobile apps. “We thought they were the best, so we bought them and got a couple hundred of the best software developers in the world working exclusively for us,” Mr. Donahoe said.

The resulting mobile apps have been hugely successful with customers. “They’re a nice, clean, elegant solution, a very pleasant experience,” Mr. Spitz said. “Many people are encountering eBay on a mobile device and coming away with a great first impression.”

New products are in the pipeline. Mr. Donahoe said PayPal Here, a new payment system, would allow customers to “check in” in advance at a shop, be greeted by name when they arrive, complete transactions without a mobile device or credit card and get a text message as a receipt.

Management change is necessary and inevitable. Mr. Donahoe has been chief for just over four years, and has replaced most of eBay’s top management. “A significant change in senior leadership was necessary to take eBay to the next level,” he said. He built a team of managers who shared his dedication “to building a great and enduring company, a company that will last,” as he put it. “No one else has really done that on the Internet, and we’re excited by the possibility.” At the same time, he said, “We can’t take anything for granted. We’re almost paranoid. We get up every morning and we’re focused on delivering for our customers and continuing to innovate. It’s a fast-changing world.”

nytimes.com 

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From: Glenn Petersen8/2/2012 8:08:47 AM
   of 7730
 
Some PayPal Users Criticize Antifraud Measures

By BRIAN X. CHEN
New York Times
August 1, 2012

Jorge Espinoza, the founder of PreRace, a Web site where bicyclists and runners can register for races, was on a roll in March. In three days his site took in over $1 million in registrations for a major bike race, much more than usual.

Then PayPal, the online payment service that his site was using to process credit card transactions, froze the company’s account. To PayPal, the flurry of activity raised suspicions about fraud, so it told Mr. Espinoza that it was holding the money.

“They created such a massive headache,” Mr. Espinoza said. If he had not been able to take out a $500,000 loan to pay the race’s organizers, he said, PayPal could easily have put PreRace out of business. While PayPal says that only a small percentage of its customers run into such issues, there have been enough horror stories like this in recent years to make some companies think twice about using PayPal, the most popular electronic payments service in the world.

The victims range from individual sellers to start-up companies, and from creative artists to impromptu philanthropists. They all had to scramble when PayPal decided to hold onto their money longer than expected.

PayPal, which is owned by eBay, remains the dominant global player in e-commerce, handling more than half of all Web transactions by some estimates, and it continues to grow. But some businesses who are frustrated by the company’s aggressive antifraud measures are looking at other ways to accept payments.

When it was founded in 1998, PayPal was among the first companies that allowed people to easily transmit funds to one another over the Internet. It now has 113 million users worldwide, and it says its antifraud measures are in place to protect those users from what is no doubt an army of would-be swindlers.

Katherine Hutchison, senior director of risk management at PayPal, said it has employed hundreds of mathematics scholars with Ph.D.’s who work on software to detect and prevent fraud. One potential sign of fraud, she said, is an unusually large transaction.

For example, if a merchant regularly sells items that cost $30 to $50, and then suddenly sells a $3,000 item, PayPal cannot be completely sure that the seller actually has such a valuable item in her inventory, so it proceeds cautiously to protect the buyer. “When you walk into a dollar store or a drugstore, you’re not going to buy fine jewelry there,” she said.

Another warning sign is a spike in activity, like a sudden burst of transactions in a formerly quiet account. PayPal says it has seen cases where this is a sign that a person is about to go bankrupt and is selling off all of his possessions — possibly before fleeing the country.

April Winchell, an actress and the publisher of the humor blog Regretsy, had nothing of the sort in mind last December when she decided to use her blog and PayPal to drum up donations to buy Christmas gifts for poor children. The money came in so fast — $20,000 in total — that PayPal froze her account. She ended up dipping into her own savings to buy the gifts, and only after Ms. Winchell documented the incident on her blog did PayPal apologize. It ended up reimbursing her for the donations.

Ms. Winchell is still upset with PayPal. She said she was still getting e-mails from people who ran across her blog posts and told her of similar problems with the service, including one in which PayPal suspended the account of a charity collecting donations for orphans in Vietnam. Other tales of woe are scattered across message boards on PayPal’s own site and elsewhere.

“It happens every day,” Ms. Winchell said. “It’s the most bizarre and draconian policy, and it’s really embarrassing, but they’re huge and they just don’t care.”

PayPal’s Ms. Hutchison said situations where people had to wait to access their funds were rare, affecting about 2 percent of accounts. Very few of those were extreme cases, as when an account is frozen, she said.

Ms. Hutchison added that the company was working to be more open with merchants and customers about its policies. After a reporter began asking about customer problems, she published a blog post clarifying and discussing changes to PayPal’s policies on holding funds.

Some companies are competing with PayPal by looking specifically at the headaches it sometimes causes for businesses and aiming to offer a more customer-friendly service. Bill Clerico, chief executive of WePay, an electronic payments service based in Palo Alto, Calif., said he had decided to form his company because of his own experience in 2007, during his college years, when PayPal held thousands of dollars he had collected for his work as a tutor.

“As a college kid trying to pay rent and have spending money, it was incredibly frustrating to have that kind of money tied up,” Mr. Clerico said.

WePay uses many of the same fraud-detection methods as PayPal, he said, but the main difference is that its system takes into account a business’s social networking profiles when investigating suspicious transactions. A small company’s Facebook pages, Yelp reviews and Twitter account are evaluated to gauge its legitimacy, and a business’s account is frozen only when it has been conclusively determined that fraud has taken place, he said.

Mr. Clerico noted that PayPal had started as a service for people to sell items over eBay, not as something to build a business on. He developed WePay with small businesses in mind. Max Levchin, the co-founder of PayPal, is an investor in WePay. Other PayPal competitors include Braintree and payment services from Amazon and Google.

But PayPal is not going anywhere. Samee Zafar, a director at Edgar, Dunn and Company — a consulting firm that has done some work for PayPal in the past — said that even if competitors found a way to make payments simpler, none of them have the global reach of PayPal.

“Feature by feature, I’m sure these companies are better in some ways with their payment technologies than PayPal, but that doesn’t mean you can beat the guy who has the real customer network,” Mr. Zafar said. He added that unlike its smaller rivals, PayPal has relationships with banks all around the world, and the brand has gained trust and recognition. (WePay requires businesses it works with to be in the United States.)

Mr. Zafar said PayPal’s challenge would be in mobile payments, a market that is full of hot start-ups like Square and Scvngr. PayPal does not have the infrastructure or a presence in physical retail stores yet, apart from a pilot project with Home Depot, and it will be difficult for a company that has always done online payments to make this transition, he said.

In PreRace’s case, Mr. Espinoza said that before the freeze he called a customer service hot line to warn PayPal that PreRace was about to get a big influx of money. He said he spoke to a low-level representative who made a note of the call — but this did not matter to the risk analysis team that froze the account.

PayPal said it would allow the company to withdraw part of its money once a month, and would release the balance only after the bike race concluded in mid-June. PreRace eventually got all of its money. But Mr. Espinoza is in the process of switching to a different payment service.

nytimes.com 

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