Digital payment: next area of growth for ecommerce

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The Independent Online

"The future of money is digital," according to Osama Bedier, vice president of PayPal Platform and Emerging Technology.

If one looks at the history of the world, there have only been five different major changes in the way people pay for goods, said Bedier whilst speaking at the LeWeb internet conference in Paris on December 10.

People have used barter, coins, paper and credit cards to make monetary transactions. These methods have all existed to make money and the handling of it more flexible.

Each shift in payment system has arisen to remove friction – to enable easier, faster or more convenient payments according to our shifting commerce needs.

With the onset of the internet, credit cards became a popular method of online payment for purchasing goods and services in a virtual manner.

PayPal is one of the most active online payment companies on the internet. In 2009 alone they will have moved around 70 billion dollars across the web.

"There is not enough flexibility in the way people can pay for things," commented Bedier. "The enemy is paper money. We want to move past paper money to digital."

One of the markets PayPal has yet to tap into is micropayments. "Micropayments are also the future," said Bedier. "There is still a lot of experimentation out there. We have a lot of plans in 2010 for micropayments. We have 200 million accounts across the world and we know quite a lot about the credibility of those accounts. If they want to do a small transaction, we should allow that. 2010 is going to be a big year for us. We want to innovate in the space where there is room for improvement."

"We get to see the trends in the industry and where they are going we have quite a bit of information about what is happening in social networking and where those platforms are going. There is a huge growth in online social networking payments. The numbers are really big. We see that there is a huge opportunity there. It is mostly gaming, but also dating sites and it is slowly moving to ecommerce. Social commerce is coming soon."

Digital payments will not just be limited to payments on your personal computer. The next big area for digital payment will be device-based payments, whether they be on your phone, you portable internet device or on your TV. Internet-connected devices will become platforms on which developers can innovate and create ecommerce solutions.