PayPal looks to move into credit cards’ real-world territory

No longer content with simply being one of the most popular online payment methods in the world, PayPal wants to begin to cut into profits lenders make on credit card debt in the real world as well.

The president of the payment processing giant, which is a unit of eBay, recently told the Wall Street Journal that his company is making the development of software that will transform consumers’ mobile phones into “digital wallets” its top priority. In the final version of the product, PayPal boss Scott Thompson says he envisions consumers using the program to not only buy merchandise, but also find and keep coupons, and maintain store loyalty program data.

PayPal also wants to allow consumers to buy things from websites on their smartphones using the software, the report said. This is part of a larger effort to cut into the revenues credit card companies enjoy almost exclusively.

It was recently reported that mobile carriers AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile were teaming up to develop and test a payment system that would allow consumers to buy things using their smartphones, citing motives similar to PayPal’s.