In the world of digital payments, bitcoin has pretty much dominated the media cycle. And because of that, some pretty big news has slipped through the cracks. Some of the biggest and most potentially game-changing news came from payment processor PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL).
And no, PYPL isn’t taking bitcoin.
The firm’s announcement to partner with one of the hottest and fastest growing investment apps/Robo-advisors was pretty much ignored by the markets. But the deal and what it could mean for PayPal’s bottom line over the long haul is huge and potentially makes the firm one of big tech’s first players to get into the world of investing/personal finance — a place that it can thrive.
In the end, the deal is just another reason why you should own PayPal for continued digital payment revolution.
PYPL Plants Some Acorns
Investment app Acorns has taken the world by storm. The basics of the app are that it rounds up your purchases and then invests the spare change for you. It uses ETFs and other low-cost investments to craft its portfolios and as a robo-advisor, it automatically rebalances them to keep asset allocation models from drifting. Since its launch, Acorns’ focus on smaller investors has helped it attract more than 2 million accounts.
And now PayPal has integrated the app into its system.
Thanks to a new partnership, PayPal and Acorn users will be able to transfer money — both contributions and withdrawals — between the two platforms. Additionally, customers can use the PayPal website and mobile app to open their Acorns account and then monitor their investments, move money and accept payments directly into their Acorns account.
Perhaps even better is that Acorns has continued to partner with various retailers and services firms that offer cash back into their investment accounts. Top merchants included millennial favorites like Airbnb and Dollar Shave Club. And current PayPal users are able to take advantage of the Acorns “round-up” feature when using PYPL to make purchases.
Plenty of Recurring Revenues at PYPL
This closed ecosystem is a huge win for PayPal. Under the guise of “democratize financial services” and providing “innovative solutions to the people typically underserved by the current system,” PayPal is setting itself up as a fee-gathering machine.
Acorns has about 2.3 million accounts with an average of $407 in assets. Remember, this isn’t Merrill Lynch — we’re talking micro-investing here. For those small accounts, Acorns snags $1 per month in fees. Larger accounts are charged just 0.25% per year.
Right now, there are around 218 million active PayPal accounts worldwide. Even if only half or a quarter of those accounts join the service, you’re looking at some pretty hefty monthly revenue opportunities for the Acorns.
What’s even better? When PYPL hooks up its Venmo peer-to-peer payment platform to Acorns. Imagine being able to take the money your roommate just gave you for pizza and dropping it right into your stock portfolio. And given that Venmo and Acorns are both insanely popular with Millennials, this is exactly the scenario that will play out
Need more proof? A recent survey by Viacom reports that 75% of Millennials would rather use Google (NASDAQ: GOOG,NASDAQ:GOOGL), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN), PayPal or other big tech companies for their banking/investing needs over products from their own banks. The long-term narrative for PayPal writes itself.
PYPL Is Becoming a Fintech Giant
PayPal’s partnership with Acorns is a big deal with plenty of long-term positives and synergies for the two firms. Those synergies will be even better when PYPL decides to buy it outright. Given that the payment processor has provided it with venture capital in a few different stages, that buyout will probably come sooner than later.
And when it does, the PayPal will be a one-stop shop for purchasing, investing and saving money. As for saving that money, PayPal just recently closed on a series of investments in deposit marketplace Raisin.
In the end, PayPal is quickly becoming the bank for the unbanked and millennial generation. For PYPL stock-holders, that means plenty of recurring revenues, cash flows and gains are ahead.
As of this writing, the author did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.