PayPal is looking to extend its services from payments and is taking a stab at investing. The company has integrated micro-investing app Acorns which allows users to invest their spare change in exchange-traded funds. Note that this is only for users in the United States and PayPal has not said if it will be offered to customers in other countries.
Acorns was launched in 2014 and currently claims 2.4 million investing accounts and will automatically round up PayPal and debit and credit card purchases and put the extra cents into stocks and bonds, as indicated by this Finextra report.
When users log into a PayPal account, they will be able to link their Acorns account from the home screen. Once the accounts are linked, they can transfer funds, monitor their investments, make withdrawals and manage their account from the website and mobile apps. Note that PayPal had led an investment round of $30 million in Acorns back in April 2016.
Situation in India
Note that there are many apps in India where they encourage users to invest in mutual funds in such as Piggy, MyCAMS, and Finozen. But for PayPal, there is already regulatory backing as SEBI has allowed mutual funds investments through digital wallets. However, it has a cap of Rs 50,000 per mutual fund per financial year. Earlier this year, PayPal expressed in acquiring a wallet licence from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Perhaps this could be the differentiator for the company in the already crowded wallet and payment aggregator space.
Wallets tying up with mutual funds do have precedence. In January, FreeCharge’s customers were able to invest in mutual funds through its partnership with Reliance Mutual Fund. The tie-up said users could invest in Reliance Mutual Fund’s ultra-short term debt funds and the companies said that these schemes were traditionally safer and give higher post-tax returns than fixed deposits and savings accounts.