PayPal is mulling over a stock trading platform for customers in the US

Shawn Knight

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The big picture: Now would be as good a time as any to expand into retail trading. According to estimates from JMP Securities, more than 10 million new investors have jumped into the market in the first half of 2021 alone, spurred by government stimulus checks and meme stocks. Moreover, platforms like Robinhood and Square have made it easier than ever for newcomers to get involved in retail trading, and it would seem that PayPal wants a slice of that pie.

PayPal is reportedly considering an expansion into stock trading less than a year after launching the ability to buy, hold and sell cryptocurrencies on its platform.

Sources familiar with the matter told CNBC that the payments processing company is considering ways for users to trade individual stocks. Further validating the rumor is the fact that PayPal recently hired brokerage industry vet Richard J. Hagen as the CEO of Invest at PayPal to lead “efforts to explore opportunities in the consumer investment business.”

According to Hagen’s LinkedIn page, he started working for PayPal in August 2021. This is the first time we’ve heard of the Invest at PayPal division.

When pinged for comment by CNBC, PayPal highlighted CEO Dan Schulman’s comments from February about its long-term vision and “investment capabilities.”

Regarding PayPal’s plans, at least one source said they’ve already held discussions with potential industry partners. Another option would be to buy out an existing broker-dealer, but either way, the trading service is unlikely to launch this year, one source said.

Share value in PayPal is up nearly 3.3 percent on the news.

Image credit Anna Nekrashevich, Brett Jordan

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