PayPal, an on-line company that helps people pay for purchases over the Internet, has its world headquarters in Omaha — and plans an expansion that’ll have the “Help Wanted” sign out for hundreds of people in western Iowa and eastern Nebraska. Amanda Pires says the expansion’s planned for PayPal’s headquarters across the Missouri River from Council Bluffs, in the Omaha suburb of La Vista.
The 125-thousand-square-foot building will open in the second half of 2006 and hold about 600 people. Pires says people with a business education or background may find opportunity in the expansion. They do all sorts of things, under the umbrella of “operations,” she explains — merchant support, risk management and sales agents. Everyone will have computer skills, since PayPal was created to make a way for people to send money without cash, checks, or even plastic as we know it.
The original idea was to come up with a way to “beam” money between owners or hand-held electronic devices, users of things like Palm Pilots or the Blackberry. While developing that technology, PayPal’s founders decided to go ahead and come up with a way to let people e-mail each other money. That decision expanded the market from a few million people with handheld devices, to serve any of the millions who have a e-mail address.
In the year 2002, the internet auction site eBay acquired PayPal. PayPal provided a safe and easy way for buyers to pay sellers of items using eBay. Pires explains it’s slow and risky to mail cash or a check, and you’ve lost the money if something goes wrong. PayPal provides that recourse for people in a transaction, and increases the velocity of trade on eBay.
Now PayPal’s branching out to offer services to other business operators. Some eBay users have their own businesses or Internet operations, and Pires says PayPal will be their way of accepting payment for their products or services. It’ll let the very smallest merchants accept credit cards. If you run a business, it can cost you a lot to get a “merchant account” to handle credit card transactions, and she says PayPal handles that to make it easier for a small business to handle money. PayPal’s expansion into other business is a main reason for the new building, which will more than double its space. To learn more or see how to apply for the new jobs on-line, surf to paypal.com.