Paypal's stock is one of the scarce few in the black in 2020, but that's because it should be. While endless competitors try to chip away at it's best app's business, the scale it has achieved should scare even the biggest competitors it has on Wall Street. 

Paypal ($PYPL) job postings are soaring, as more people are sheltering-in-place. It coincides with bank branch closures and social distancing that should help drive users to its platform - but the payments app business has become crowded with startups and legacy players alike, eager to deepen relationships with customers through their phone. 

Paypal is ramping up job postings - although that wasn't always the case. A big dip at the end of 2019 preceded a run-up of 88% with the California payment app operator in 2020. 

Bank of America is seeing some of its apps get accelerated engagement in the pandemic; Goldman Sachs' Marcus app is growing quickly and earning high scores from consumers. And then there are still legacy leaders, like JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup. 

It's not just big banks that are trying to eat Paypal's lunch, either. 

The chart above tracks Paypal's invoicing app for small businesses, which has seen notable engagement increases in the Google ($GOOG) Play Store for its app (Paypal runs dozens on both major platforms). Square, a competitor that stands to lose if Paypal gains more business users, saw staffing soar - briefly - then bounce back downward. Stripe is thriving as well, and just raised new capital at a $36 billion valuation - surely an impressive feat, for the current fundraising marketplace. 

But Paypal has something no one else has. 

Venmo, Paypal's cash transfer app, has achieved extraordinary scale, tacking on millions and millions of reviews in the Apple ($AAPL) Store. 

Venmo is basically the Netflix of online payments, and in an industry where security and reliability are the ultimate goal, Paypal's app-based subsidiary has the potential to turn into the company's successful on-ramp to smartphones, the way JPMorgan Chase (which, by the same metric, has just over 2 million ratings at a recent count), Goldman and other top banks wish they could. Paypal has an app of its own, but Venmo's dominance over its parent company in the Apple Store - shown in the chart above - makes clear why Paypal's advantage is so enormous. It's already gained scale that, barring some unforeseen shock to consumers' confidence about the payments app's efficiency or security, it may never cede. 

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales. 

Further Reading: 

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