PayPal receives banking licence

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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

PayPal currently has its headquarters in San José, California, together with several other eBay divisions.

The online payment service PayPal has received a banking licence in Luxembourg, promoting it to the status of a bank. As a consequence PayPal will move their headquarters to Luxembourg.

Since 2004 PayPal had the status of an Electronic Money Issuer supervised by the U.K. Financial Services Authority. Having an official bank status opens new prospects for the company: "This will allow us to actively scout retailers in different European countries. With our British licence, we could only do that in the U.K. itself, and in other countries we could only react to requests of the retailers themselves," Christopher Coonen, General Manager of PayPal Southern Europe and Benelux, explained.

The change will not affect existing customers dramatically, says Coonen: "We are going to inform them of the new status, and they will have to accept our terms of service again." He also said that for now, there were no plans to use the new licence to offer traditional banking services, but the possibility was being evaluated by PayPal. Working with local partners would be an option to accomplish this, according to Coonen.

The British newspaper The Daily Telegraph speculates that the move is part of a strategy to compete with Google's payment service Google Checkout, which launched in the U.K. last month.

PayPal has 130 million users worldwide, and 35 million customers in Europe. Payments via its mother company eBay continue to make up 60% of PayPal's revenues. More than half of Britain's internet users have a PayPal account.

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