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4,251 $m

PayPal, the pioneer of digital payments, has split from eBay and is forging a new future built on a long-standing reputation. With 160 million active accounts worldwide, PayPal facilitated about four billion payments last year. It’s now free to pursue partnerships with eBay rivals like Alibaba, which could accelerate growth.

In 2014, PayPal debuted its first-ever global brand campaign, “Powering the People Economy.” Its “We the People” ad, printed in the New York Times around the release of Apple Pay, positioned PayPal as safer than its competitor. The larger campaign highlighted real people—and their real need for security—to deepen awareness of the things PayPal can actually deliver, under the simple tagline “People

And people will be vital in order for PayPal to retain its edge as consumers switch from shopping on their computers to mobile commerce, which makes up almost a third of PayPal’s business. It’s a world populated by big players like Apple, Google, and Samsung, as well as new services like Square and Stripe. It also faces a whole new sector of businesses that provide methods to authenticate and secure payments, as well as financial institutions and banks that are working to keep up. Not to mention what crypto currencies like Bitcoin may—or may not—mean for the way people think about money in the future.

PayPal is adeptly positioning itself to compete in mobile payments with acquisitions like Braintree and Venmo. It also launched One Touch, a mobile checkout service that activates payments with a single click. With its recent purchase of Xoom, PayPal is also poised to become a force in the global remittance market, now dominated by Western Union. Next up, it’s planning a PayPal chip card reader that will also accept contactless mobile payments, including Android Pay and Apple Pay. For PayPal CEO Dan Schulman, it’s all part of a broader mission to “democratize the movement and management of money” and become a full-service operating system for commerce.

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