PayPal buys TIO Networks to expand into bill payment

TIO operates a network of roughly 900 bill payment kiosks throughout North America and claims to house 14 million consumer bill pay accounts.

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PayPal just announced that it has acquired TIO Networks, a Vancouver, Canada-based bill-pay processor, for $233 million.

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TIO operates a network of roughly 900 bill payment kiosks throughout North America and claims to house 14 million consumer bill pay accounts. TIO also offers bill payment services at some 65,000 retail walk-in locations, where cash-toting customers can pay their utility, cable and wireless bills (among others).

The company primarily serves the unbanked and underbanked, meaning people who can't afford or don't have access to mainstream financial services that make electronic bill paying possible.

PayPal CEO Dan Schulman said the acquisition will allow PayPal to integrate bill payment into its payments platform and further its efforts to "become a part of a consumer's everyday financial life."

Ultimately, PayPal is gunning for the business of the billions of people across the globe who don't have access to traditional banking.

"Worldwide, more than 2 billion people do not have affordable access to basic financial services, making it difficult and expensive for consumers to carry out basic financial tasks, including bill payment," Schulman said. "TIO's digital platform, and physical network of agent locations make paying bills simpler, faster, and more affordable. We are excited by the opportunity to extend this valuable service to our existing customers and welcome new billers and customers to PayPal."

PayPal said TIO will operate as a service within PayPal once the acquisition closes in the second half of this year. It's unclear at this point how many TIO employees will join PayPal after the merger.

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