Mobile payments seems to have replaced social as the tech phenomenon that everybody is talking about. Privately held Square made waves with its groundbreaking deal a few weeks ago with coffee king Starbucks (SBUX). Wal-Mart (WMT), Target (TGT) and several other prominent retailers have teamed up to create the Merchant Customer Exchange. And Google (GOOG) has big financial and wireless firms such as Citigroup (C), MasterCard (MA) and Sprint (S) in the Google Wallet camp.
But don't forget about eBay (EBAY). Thanks to its PayPal subsidiary, eBay's stock has been on fire this year. Shares are up more than 55% in 2012 and are near a 52-week high.
Even though the mobile payment business is getting increasingly crowded, investors clearly are betting that eBay remains the one to beat. And eBay has strengthened its position with Wednesday's deal with Discover Financial Services (DFS), an agreement that will allow PayPal to be used in the more than 7 million merchants in Discover's network.
Anybody that's still thinking of eBay as a quirky little online marketplace for Pez dispensers is clearly missing the bigger story. ThinkEquity analyst Ronald Josey had this to say about eBay Thursday morning in a report:" We believe innovation is back at eBay and the company is taking advantage of all of the key opportunities across the Internet, including mobile, local, payments, and platforms."
Josey upgraded his target price on eBay to $55, 17% higher than current levels. So while many investors dream of Jack Dorsey taking Square public, other investors realize that there already is a great mobile payment company already trading. For more on eBay, check out today's Buzz video below.>
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