Investors can be an ornery lot. Just ask PayPal. The $220bn US payment group has just reported its strongest quarterly revenue growth in history. The market responded by wiping up to 6% off PayPal shares. The bar for payments companies is now set exceptionally high.
Digital payment volumes are surging as Covid-19 lockdowns worldwide prompt consumers to do more shopping online. PayPal processed a total of $247bn in payments in the third quarter, a 36 per cent jump from the same period a year earlier. That puts the group in a far better place than credit card companies, which have been hit by a collapse in face-to-face transactions. The amount of credit card debt fell $51bn during the second quarter compared with last year, according to data from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. On a quarter-by-quarter basis, the drop — at $76bn — was the steepest on record. Lower transaction volumes and fees have hit all big credit card companies. Shares in American Express, Synchrony Financial and Discover Financial are down between 19 and 25 per cent this year.