Paypal CFO John Rainey revealed that the company found 4.5 million accounts created illegitimately by bots in connection with a customer rewards program. Although PayPal has already shut down the accounts, many took advantages of the incentives, which according to Bloomberg had caused Paypal’s stock market shares to go down by 25%. Actually, the rewards campaign was in line with PayPal’s objective of reaching 750 million active accounts by 2025. Apparently after the discovery, the goal is out of reach for now.
According to CFO Rainey, it is their practice to periodically assess their active account base, to make sure all are legitimate. It;s actually one way of avoiding bad actors, In this recent case, they collected benefits from the incentive campaigns without mutual participation as a legitimate customer of Paypal.
How Did the Account-Opening Rewards Program Work?
In the past two years, PayPal garnered 120 million new customers and now currently have a total of 426 million accounts as ecommerce boomed. CFO Rainey mentioned how PayPal focused on incentivized customer acquisition tactics more than ever. One instance is how the company had an offer that deposited $5 or $10 dollars to their customer’s account after signing up for Venmo or Paypal.
Trouble arose when bots created accounts automatically ny visiting websites but only for the purpose of collecting the rewards offered as incentives. PayPal’s CFO mentioned how the company is transitioning to a sustainable growth and driving engagement instead to make legitimate customers use their apps more frequently.
Point Predictive co-founder Frank McKenna acknowledges how this is the first time he has seen a company to admit how fraudsters take advantage of new account incentive programs in this scale.