Paypal Launches 'PassPort' Site to Help Merchants Seize a Growing Overseas Market

The site includes country-specific information, including shopping customs

PayPal is offering a new educational resource to help merchants worldwide get more use out of its payments service.

The company Thursday launched "PassPort," a free site that provides information and tools to small businesses on country-specific customs, trends and shipping logistics, in an effort to help businesses generate sales in those countries. The information is designed to help small businesses better understand local commerce activity, especially online transactions. Many smaller merchants who use PayPal want to grow their businesses internationally, but aren't sure where to start.

Looking to make a splash in China? Then consider Single's Day, the country's anti-Valentine's Day every Nov. 11, during which people celebrate being single by buying something for themselves, according to Passport's site. In e-commerce revenue, it's larger than Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in the U.S., which kicks off the year-end holiday shopping season, PayPal said, with sales expected to top US$10 billion this year.

Other tools on the site include information about shipping and distribution logistics, currency exchanges and fees, and customs procedures, as well as links to eBay's marketplace tools. EBay owns PayPal.

"PassPort removes perceived barriers by revealing cultural gift-giving traditions and taboos and helps to ease the complexity of shipping and customs," Carey Kolaja, vice president of global product solutions at PayPal, said in a statement.

Global trade accounted for about 25 percent of PayPal's global payments volume in 2013 -- a segment that the company wants to grow. In certain countries, including Germany, Brazil and China, shoppers are more willing to buy from an overseas merchant using PayPal because they are covered by the service's buyer protection policy, PayPal said.

In those markets and others, global trade is also expected to triple between now and 2018, reaching $307 billion, PayPal said.

The online resource comes as PayPal faces rising competition from a number of large players such as Apple, Google and Amazon. This week it was reported that Amazon will launch a subscription payments service to process payments for startups and other companies.

Google, meanwhile, lets businesses integrate the company's Wallet application into their apps or mobile sites for easier customer checkout.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

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