PayPal pals up with Australia, launches local site

Online consumer transaction service PayPal has launched a localised Australian Web site and service in a bid to bolster its fortunes in the Asia-Pacific region.

Wholly owned by online marketer eBay, the local service will allow Australia online buyers and sellers to send and receive payments to nearly 64 million PayPal member accounts worldwide.

The company introduced Australian dollar payments early this month and will integrate the service with the eBay Australia Web site over the next few days for Australian eBay members buying and selling overseas.

PayPal Australia managing director Andrew Pipolo said the launch of the Web site is an exciting development for online buyers and sellers.

"PayPal is ideal for online buyers, because it allows them to send money to anyone with an e-mail address in 45 countries," Pipolo said.

"Many of our Australian-based eBay buyers and sellers already use PayPal, and we've seen a strong demand from our eBay Australia community to introduce a local PayPal site to make payments even easier and cheaper."

Founded in 1998, the global online payment company PayPal has been the subject of several e-mail phishing scams in recent times.

However, according to an eBay survey, 67 per cent of Australian Internet users believe online shopping is becoming safer, with PayPal claiming it maintains one of the lowest loss rates due to fraud in the online retail industry.

Some local analysts, however, remain to be impressed by the new service or such statistics.

Frost and Sullivan senior industry analyst Foad Fadaghi said the localization of PayPal was likely to benefit online merchants, but consumers were more security conscious and sceptical than ever about online transactions through such services.

"There are a lot of people who are not shopping online any more. More people are window shopping. Uptake has plateaued. People are more guarded about [protecting] their identity. [PayPal] has been a sustained target for fraud and phishing in the past and there have been problems relating to service levels. The issues they will face here will be around quality of service," Fadaghi said.

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