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PayPal Launches Debit Shopping Tool

Palo Alto, Calif.-based online payments company PayPal, which announced an IPO filing in late September, has rolled out a new "Shop Anywhere" feature for members using debit card technology.

The company said that with the new PayPal debit bar, its 11 million members can now shop anywhere on the Web where MasterCard is accepted with the funds in their PayPal accounts.

Although the concept is not new to the Web and several other companies (ecount.com, for example) have similar offerings, "it's new for us ... and is yet another product feature designed to increase the utility of a PayPal account," company spokesman Vince Sollitto told InternetNews.com.

PayPal already has its own credit card offering and last March it launched "PayPal Shops," a directory of e-commerce merchants that prefer to be paid through PayPal.

The Shop Anywhere feature can be accessed from a member's account page via a link, and it launches a bar at the bottom of one's browser, Sollitto said.

PayPal assigns a "virtual" MasterCard debit number to a user's PayPal account, which shows up on the bar. When making an online purchase, users simply enter the information from the Debit Bar just like they would for a debit card. Of course, there must be funds in the PayPal account.