PayPal (NASDAQ:PYPL) is the pinnacle of fintech. It has a presence in almost every fintech niche. Do you want to buy now and pay later (BNPL)? That’s right. Bitcoin? That’s right. A digital wallet with the ability to trade stocks? They also have that.
Nonetheless, PayPal’s stock is down 18% year to date. This is due to the fact that it is now a fully mature banking operation. It has a market capitalization of $225 billion. It is on track to earn $25 billion in revenue this year. It is still growing, by nearly 20%, but larger numbers grow slowly, and bank stocks do not trade at high multiples. PayPal was trading at 45.3 times earnings as of Friday’s close, which is more than four times the price of bank stocks.
Lender multiples are more in line with JPMorgan Chase’s (NYSE:JPM) 10.1x and Citigroup’s (NYSE:C) 10.6x (NYSE:C). However, PayPal and its fintech contemporaries are causing concern among banks. JPMorgan co-president and COO Daniel Pinto was the latest executive to weigh in on the growing threat posed by fintech firms just last week. “At a lot of banks, we kind of slept at the wheel and allowed this to grow,” Pinto said, referring to the dominance of payment rivals such as PayPal, Stripe, once-Square-now Block (NYSE:SQ), and others.
Because of the recent drop in PayPal’s price, many people are pounding the table for it, advising investors to buy now.
According to the bulls, PayPal’s chart pattern is similar to that of Fiserv (NASDAQ:FISV), a payment processor. It should be more like BNPL leader Affirm (NASDAQ:AFRM), which has risen 39 percent since going public in January. PayPal is introducing a “super app,” a digital payments wallet that includes stock trading, cryptocurrency, and messaging.
The main advantage of PayPal has been its low fees for both payors and recipients. Because it is a unitary system, it can instantly translate between currencies. Recharging your account is free of charge. Once you’re in the system, PayPal has a slew of profitable subsidiaries available to you. Coupon maker online PayPal is Honey. Xoom is as well. Venmo is also known as PayPal.
PayPal has profit margins that banks can only dream of. In the third quarter, 21 cents out of every $5 earned became net income. Banks make money by lending for more than they receive. PayPal makes money by moving money around, so its books are those of a business.
PayPal bulls are perplexed by the stock’s decline since July, when it traded at $305.
It isn’t a mystery. The last two earnings reports issued by the San Jose-based company were described as “disappointing.” It has a cautious outlook for the fourth quarter. Shares more than doubled during the worst of the pandemic and were due to cool off. As PayPal grows in size, growth must slow. Revenue there typically grows at a rate of around 13% per year. It is expected to grow by 25% by 2020. This year, it is expected to increase by 21%. Next year, the company expects even slower growth.
Despite its recent decline, PayPal is still priced like a technology stock. It’s all about progress. If growth slows and business returns to normal, PayPal must fall.
Pinterest is another option (NYSE:PINS). Back in October, it was reported that PayPal was in the process of purchasing Pinterest, a DIY and crafts discovery site. In early November, it poured cold water on the reports. However, this left some analysts scratching their heads, wondering if PayPal’s C-suite had gone insane.
It hadn’t happened. However, it has developed an interest in the metaverse, blockchain, and NFTs. It is a risky business to transition from digital payments to digital currency and digital assets. Wall Street only likes risk when it pays off.
PayPal is for risk-taking, growth-seeking investors.
Even partnerships like the one it recently struck with Amazon and Venmo’s unit aren’t guaranteed to move the needle.
PayPal will need to do $30 billion in business next year and $36 billion in 2023 to maintain its current growth rate. Bears are concerned that this means investing in riskier, fully digital assets rather than simply moving money.
It isn’t required. The impending abolition of the pandemic should boost international trade. This could be a significant boost to PayPal’s numbers. Another surprise will be provided by BNPL.
If you’re a risk-taking investor, you might see PayPal as a good buy at its current price. Stay with the banks if you’re a conservative.