PayPal president Scott Thompson said today during briefings for analysts that the service should double in size in the next three years, processing between $100 billion and $120 billion in annual payments by 2011.
That could be a welcome boost for parent company eBay, which posted drops in revenue and profit in the last quarter and has seen its stock lose 80 percent of its value since late 2004.
PayPal, which has 70 million active user accounts, processed $60 billion in transactions in 2008 and is eBay's second-largest business. It runs local sites in 17 languages and accepts 19 currencies for transactions.
PayPal reported $2.4 billion in 2008 revenue, while eBay as a whole took in revenue of $8.5 billion. The projected increase in PayPal's volume would translate into $4 billion to $5 billion in revenue in 2011, Thompson said.
PayPal plans to achieve this growth by continuing to grow on the eBay site, as well as by increasing the service's use among merchants that aren't part of eBay. PayPal is looking toward handling more mobile transactions and payments for businesses such as banks, non-profits and online social networks.
"It doesn't matter where you go online today; almost everybody needs a fast, secure way to pay for something," Thompson said.
PayPal is still combining its operations with Bill Me Later, a company eBay bought in October that lets online retailers extend credit to shoppers without requiring detailed application forms. This will let people choose to pay for purchases immediately through PayPal or be billed at a later date through Bill Me Later.
eBay shares were up 33 cents, or almost 3 percent, at $11.43 in afternoon trading.