More pay than pals: Paypal processes $8,733 every second

Money doesn’t flow as fast as the speed of light, but PayPal sure makes it seem like it does. According to a recent report PayPal processes, on average, $8,773 in payments every second – more than twice the amount than the company did in 2011.

The stat comes from Fast Company’s recent article detailing PayPal’s need for a complex command center to maintain the online commerce behemoth. The $8,733 processed every second is a 140-percent increase over the $3,650 the company was processing per second in 2011. PayPal has already processed $200.24 billion in payments from 1.22 billion transactions as of the end of the third-quarter – more than the yearly totals for 2012 and 2013 – with last year’s $234.64 billion likely to be surpassed by year’s end. In fact, PayPal is on pace for a company record of more than $260 billion in payments processed by the end of the year.

Interesting, this growth has not just come from new users. Since the second-quarter of 2011, PayPal’s registered user base increased from 100 million to 174 million. That 74-percent increase in users is nearly half the rate of the increase of PayPal’s payments processed per second over the same time span. That means users are spending a lot more, on average.

According to its recent quarterly earnings report, PayPal saw an average of 27 transactions per year per active account, an increase of more than 10 percent over last year. Between 2011 and the start of 2015, PayPal vastly expanded its in-store payment processing by partnering with more than 23 retailers to allow PayPal to be used in 18,000 physical stores in the United States, by the start of 2013. With a Macy’s partnership this past September, it looks as if the online giant is growing offline, as well.

Another contributor to this increase is Venmo, which lets users send money between one another without a PayPal account, no matter the bank account used. PayPal acquired it in 2013 after purchasing its parent company, Braintree, for $800 million. Venmo has already processed more than $5 billion this year and has processed roughly $7.5 billion since the start of 2014.

And there’s room for growth. As of press time, PayPal is not an available payment method on Amazon, the largest online retailer. This was more than likely due to it formerly being an affiliate of Amazon rival, eBay. With eBay’s spin-off of PayPal completed in July, PayPal is now free to work with other online marketplaces, a prospect that could have the payment processor handling more money and more users. It might be time to build a bigger command center.

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