PayPal Snags 15 Retailers for In-Store Payments

Move Puts It In Competition With Credit Cards Like Visa, AmEx

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Fifteen major retailers, including Barnes & Noble, Foot Locker, JC Penney and Toys 'R' Us, have signed on to accept PayPal at their brick-and-mortar stores.

It's a coup for the online-payments service, which is now finding its way to the register to compete with credit cards such as Visa, MasterCard and American Express. PayPal's in-store push will also help its parent company, eBay, gain a foothold in the mobile-payments market that looks to tie offline transactions with digital rewards, offers and tracking. PayPal has been the biggest driver of growth for eBay, which is looking to move past its origins as an online-auction site.

Consumers can pay at the register with a PayPal card -- not a credit card, but a physical portal to the online account -- or with their phone number and a PIN. So far, 110 million people are active users of PayPal online.

Today, PayPal went live at 2,000 Home Depot registers and will roll out at the other national chains -- Abercrombie & Fitch, Advance Auto Parts, Aeropostale, American Eagle Outfitters, Guitar Center, Jamba Juice, Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, Nine West, Office Depot, Rooms To Go and Tiger Direct -- in the next few months.

While PayPal is just adding another way to pay at stores for the time being, the goal is to integrate those payments with loyalty programs or to message PayPal shoppers before they come into the store, while they're inside or after they've left.

Consider that over the last few years, eBay has snapped up a number of mobile companies to complement PayPal, such as location-based mobile ad network Where, which has since been rebranded PayPal Media Network. Before that , eBay acquired GSI Commerce, a big e-commerce tech and digital agency companyfor a whopping $2.4 billion.

While the pieces haven't all come together yet, the PayPal Wallet could also house other eBay properties, such as barcode-scanning and price-comparisons app Red Laser.

PayPal isn't alone. Google launched its Wallet with a slew of major retailers and restaurants a year ago. Isis, a venture from mobile carriers AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile, has named national partners such as Aeropostale, Coca-Cola Co., Foot Locker and Macy's . Retailers aren't picking sides: Jamba Juice, for one, is testing all three payment systems.

PayPal has also partnered with point-of -sale software companies to be accepted in 50,000 small-business merchants nationwide, the company said at an event at its San Jose, Calif., headquarters today.

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