PayPal Waives Payment Processing Fees for Startups

Looking to generate awareness about its payment processing services, PayPal (NASDAQ: EBAY) is waiving the processing fees for some global startup businesses. PayPal Vice President of Growth Stan Chudnovsky said the global payment company would waive up to $50,000 in processing fees in the first 18 months in its PayPal Startup Blueprint program. “Every dollar matters when people are starting and running a new company. Every dime, every penny. Many of us here at PayPal have been there before: PayPal itself was a very small startup company just 15 years ago,” Chudnovsky wrote on the company’s PayPal Forward blog. There are a few caveats, of course. To be eligible, startups must focus on making mobile or web software or services, make less than $3 million in annual revenue, or be less than five years old. PayPal did not say how many startups would be approved as part of the program. Then, companies must be nominated by PayPal or one of the accelerators or incubators enrolled in the Startup Blueprint program. Initially, Blueprint includes “top” incubators such as 500Startups, Seedcamp and Elevator, but eventually any startup will be able to apply. Chudnovsky said PayPal is providing Blueprint so startups can grow faster internationally. “We can connect startups with 137 million active account holders and 15,000 financial institutions in 193 markets around the world,” he bragged. Perhaps this is another move on PayPal’s behalf to take over the global payments processing market. eBay already acquired PayPal’s chief rival, Braintree, for $800 million in late September. We wonder whether competitors such as Google Checkout and Amazon – touting its new “Login and Pay” program – will respond with an in-kind “free” program for startups. What do you think? Is this just a smart public relations move by PayPal, or a program that will actually benefit thousands of startups around the world?