Ever since Susan Schmidt, vice president of U.S. consumer credit for PayPal Credit, was passed over for a prime job overseas more than 20 years ago because she was pregnant, she has been an advocate for women in the workplace.
“It caused me to seek out mentors, role models and companies that align with my values,” Schmidt told a packed audience at the Women in Retail Leadership Circle’s On the Road event in San Francisco on Nov. 7. “So, I’m thrilled to be able to work for a company like PayPal.”
Schmidt noted that she has been in the payments industry for 25 years, and has loved every minute of it. Currently, Schmidt oversees the U.S. Consumer Credit business at PayPal Credit. PayPal Credit is a simple financing solution that gives consumers a flexible way to pay over time, and your transactions are secure with PayPal.
“[Payments is] an exciting, changing, diverse industry, and it has kept me intrigued the entire time I’ve been involved in it,” Schmidt said. “And PayPal is an amazing, values-based company.”
A Values-Based Company
So, what’s it about PayPal that makes it values-based? To explain, Schmidt laid out three of PayPal’s core missions:
- democratizing financial services;
- doing well by doing what’s right; and
- being a champion for small businesses.
As for democratizing financial services, Schmidt explained that there are more than 1.7 billion people globally who live outside of the financial services infrastructure . These are people who don’t have checking accounts or savings accounts and spend a significant portion of their income on unnecessary fees and interest rates.
“We believe that pairing the right financial services model with technology will enable us to deliver financial services to this group in a much more efficient — say through a mobile phone — and less expensive way,” Schmidt said. “That vision drives our product and investment decisions and provides great meaning for those of us who work at PayPal.”
As for doing well by doing what’s right, Schmidt provided the example of a program PayPal Credit created earlier this year for government workers who were furloughed during the government shutdown in January.
“We decided we could offer interest-free loans for life, up to $500 for any federal worker,” said Schmidt. “We had this idea on a Sunday night and by Thursday we rallied a team and were able to publicly announce it.
“Being a part of the team of 15 who sat in a room from idea to inception … and getting it done in four days was amazing. It makes me very proud to be a part of a company that cares so much about our community.”
As for being a champion for small business, PayPal Credit “help[s] small businesses get paid, plain and simple,” noted Schmidt. She went on to explain that the PayPal Working Capital business loan “enable[s] small businesses to invest in their businesses and pay back based on revenue patterns, not on a fixed schedule.” 
To illustrate PayPal’s commitment to small businesses, Schmidt showed a video that highlighted one of PayPal Credit’s customers, Rose Morris, the founder of Abram’s Nation. The company, named after Morris’ autistic son, Abram, manufactures and sells the Safety Sleeper, a safe, fully enclosed bed system for children and adults with special needs.
In the video, Morris said being able to offer PayPal Credit — which enables customers to buy now and pay over time — has been critical to the company’s success. PayPal Credit has afforded all types of customers the ability to purchase the Safety Sleeper.
“We saw a huge increase in people being able to get the product they needed,” Morris says in the video. “Being able to help families get this bed fills me with gratitude and joy. Obviously, it’s good for the bottom line as a business owner, but it’s also good for the bottom line in my soul.”
After the video, Schmidt said, “this is why I love payments. This is a great, live example of democratizing financial services.”
In closing, Schmidt asked attendees to reflect upon the following three things:
- Think about your own stories that you can share with the next generation. “When you reflect, you’ll find out that there’s a lot of power in many of our own personal experiences.”
- Challenge yourself to see whether you’re doing enough to advocate for women in the workplace.
- Think about whether your role and company align with your personal values. “This is a very important question to ask, and to answer.”
1. PayPal Credit is subject to credit approval.
2. Source: Study commissioned by World Bank Group based on The Global Findex Database 2017: Measuring Financial Inclusion and the Fintech Revolution. https://globalfindex.worldbank.org/
3. “The Lender for PayPal Working Capital is WebBank, Member FDIC. Minimum payment required every 90 days. See Terms & Conditions for details.” https://www.paypal.com/workingcapital/terms