PayPal promises 'one-stop shop' for merchants

Company says location-based offers and broad mobile accessibility will be features of the new platform, which won't require merchants to adopt new infrastructure or buy new terminals.

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Leslie Katz
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PayPal is rolling out a new payments platform for online and local merchants that it says will give customers an improved shopping and buying experience.

The platform will include location-based offers, and will be accessible from any device (not just mobile phones), PayPal President Scott Thompson announced in a blog post today.

"PayPal is reimagining money and making it work better for merchants and consumers--whatever device you're on, wherever you are in the world, and however you prefer to pay (whether that's cash, credit, or installments)," Thompson wrote.

The eBay-owned pioneer of peer-to-peer payments gave merchants including Home Depot and Sports Authority a sneak peek at its new offerings today in Los Angeles, but it hasn't yet offered the public too many details beyond words like "seamless" and "flexibility." The PayPal graphic above does offer some hints as to what the platform will offer, though, including bar code scanning and real-time inventory availability.

We also know, thanks to AllThingsD's one-on-one briefings with PayPal execs, that merchants won't need to adopt new infrastructure or purchase new terminals to opt in to the system. Neither, apparently, will customers need to upgrade their phones.

Instead, AllThingsD reports, PayPal users will be able to pay by entering a phone number and a PIN code at existing terminals. Or they can swipe a PayPal-issued card that's not associated with a bank and won't have an account number printed on the front.

Sam Shrauger, vice president of global product and experience for PayPal, stressed to TechCrunch that its new services will allow merchants and consumers to better connect, from the search process to the post-purchase time period. That seems to indicate that PayPal is looking to be an end-to-end solution for online and on-the-go payments.

"The fact is you've got to have more than just a shiny new technology to really change the way people shop and pay," Thompson said in his blog. He says PayPal will offer a closer look at its new technologies at the X.commerce Innovate Conference next month in San Francisco.

Today's announcement is clearly another step by PayPal to secure its spot in the burgeoning mobile-payments arena. The company already has several apps for mobile phones, and in July, it touted a feature that lets consumers transfer money and pay by tapping two phones together.