News International partners with PayPal

News International is to introduce PayPal’s fast checkout system in a move that could bring the introduction of micro-payments for online content from UK titles, including The Times Online, a step closer.

timesipad

Readers will be able to use PayPal to pay for The Times and The Sunday Times websites and iPad editions instead of entering credit or debit card details for each payment.

The new PayPal method would make it easier to introduce a micropayment system by simplifying the process for readers. A spokeswoman for News International declined to comment on whether micropayments would be introduced.

The existing thetimes.co.uk and thesundaytimes.co.uk paywall charges non-subscribers £1 for a day’s access or £2 for a week’s subscription.

The Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times already operate micropayment systems that charge non-subscribers to access specific content above a set number of free to access articles, instead of a blanket pay barrier. The Telegraph is also rumoured to be mulling a micropayment system.

In March, News International reported that 79,000 people a month are paying to subscribe to the digital versions of the Times and Sunday Times and it had 228,000 joint print/digital and digital-only subscribers at the end of February, up from 205,000 in October.

PayPal says it developed the “PayPal for Digital Goods” payment system to help media businesses in the UK and globally to monetise their news, features, music and other online content.

It also claims the payment method is a faster, safer and more cost-effective way for business and consumers to send and receive the smaller payments usually associated with online content.

Carl Scheible, PayPal’s UK managing director, says the aim of the payment system is to provide media owners with the “flexibility” needed to “monetise their content in the best way for their users and their businesses.”

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