PayPal has been along for enough years that it’s more or less a ubiquitous service. Most everyone is aware of it and at least understands its basic purpose; over 220 million people have accounts open with the service; the term “PayPal” has even become a verb in certain circles, which in a strange way actually is an indicator of widespread success. Just as you might say “let me Facebook you later,” it’s common enough to hear “I’ll PayPal you the funds” or something similar.
Over 220 million people have accounts open with the service; the term “PayPal” has even become a verb in certain circles.
The last year or two have brought us a lot of clear indications that PayPal isn’t happy with its current status however. The company is expanding and innovating</a> with an eye toward taking on traditional banks, and that actually makes it extremely important for people to include it in their personal finance literacy today. It’s unlikely that at any point in the near future you’ll need to abandon your bank in favor of PayPal. However, the service is doing so much to make financial dealings secure and accessible that it’s unwise to ignore it. To give you some idea of what we’re talking about, consider the following examples of expanded services.
The PayPal Debit Card
Once upon a time, your PayPal balance simply sat still in an online account. There was nothing wrong with this, save for the occasionally frustrating fact that it couldn’t be used for anything but digital purchases. So, for those who were building up significant PayPal balances – perhaps through employment – there was an inconvenience. Money had to be withdrawn to a bank account before it could be used practically in the real world. This is no longer the case however, because you can now turn your PayPal balance into a debit card, courtesy of PayPal and MasterCard. This means that you can basically have a card linked to your PayPal the same way your ordinary debit card is linked to your checking account.
We mentioned that some people might build up significant PayPal balances through employment. This is possible partly because PayPal does in fact accept direct deposit checks, something a lot of employers and employees take advantage of – particularly in jobs that exist largely online. But you can also now deposit your own checks to PayPal should you wish to, making it feel even more like a modern, electronic-only bank.
You can also now deposit your own checks to PayPal should you wish to, making it feel even more like a modern, electronic-only bank.
Spending For Entertainment
This point is less about bank-like services, but has plenty to do with the incentive to become more PayPal literate. Basically, in addition to expanding utility in the goods purchasing and cash exchange markets, PayPal has expanded its uses in entertainment. It is connected with Apple Music, for instance, and thus has an impact on our audio entertainment. It also has its own category of online casino games, where gamers trust its security and efficiency to handle funds. And some of the most reliable PayPal shopping opportunities come on gaming-related platforms like GameStop. By and large, PayPal is gaining more utility, even insofar as how we pay for entertainment.
Right now PayPal has some fairly serious competitors. Skrill has been in the picture for a while, and Square is making a very strong push to beat PayPal to the digital banking arena. However, PayPal is still a giant, and there’s some potential that it will gain something of a monopoly regarding online payments and digital bank alternatives. PayPal has an incredibly large user base, as mentioned above, it already controls Venmo, which many mistakenly see as one of its strongest competitors, and it has the established pedigree to get users to come along with new features and ideas. Should this trajectory continue and result in something like a monopoly, you’ll do well to have familiarized yourself with PayPal now.