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PayPal CEO expects up to 85% of transactions will be digital post-pandemic

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PayPal CEO expects up to 85% of transactions will be digital post-pandemic

PayPal Holdings Inc. President and CEO Daniel Schulman expects most of the world's transactions will be digital once the coronavirus pandemic ends, according to comments he made at the 2020 Goldman Sachs U.S. Financial Services Virtual Conference.

The pandemic has accelerated e-commerce trends by "maybe three to five years," Schulman said. The CEO believes 80% to 85% of transactions globally be digital going forward.

"Companies that start to move into digital, like small businesses, are seeing their sales grow as opposed to small businesses that are not in which they are shrinking," said Schulman, according to a transcript.

"Even when people come in store, they're going to be using digital forms of checkout," because using a smartphone-based wallet or payment app allows a consumer to access rewards or coupons from that store, Schulman said. "Something like 40% to 70% of consumers say they want to use cash less."

A big part of digital payments becoming stickier in the long run is the growing sophistication of digital wallets, which are evolving from basic apps that hold digital cash balances into more integrated financial services providers. PayPal's platform now allows cryptocurrency as a funding instrument, and cryptocurrencies like bitcoin are becoming less like an asset class used for trading and "more akin to a financial instrument in which you can use to conduct commerce," he said.

The CEO also pointed to digitization in the workplace as more permanent than temporary. PayPal will continue its current remote-work model for another six to nine months before returning to the office in a hybrid model, he said.