PayPal posted its best quarter as a public company amid an acceleration in the use of digital payments that it believes is irreversible.

PayPal executives said the company’s second-quarter results indicate the COVID-19 pandemic has moved society a crucial step closer toward the “death of cash,” with 70% of consumers now fearing that paying in stores could be unsafe.

“The world has moved to a digital-first economy and I don’t think there is any going back,” CEO Dan Schulman told MarketWatch. Without the pandemic, he noted, the acceleration in e-commerce penetration over the past three to five months could have taken three to five years.

For the second quarter, PayPal posted net income of $1.53 billion, or $1.29 a share, up from $823 million, 69 cents a share, a year earlier. Adjusted earnings per share came in at $1.07 a share, well ahead of analysts’ estimates of 87 cents a share.

Revenue increased 25% to $5.26 billion and payment volume rose to $222 billion from $172 billion. Analysts had expected revenue of $4.99 billion and $210 billion in payment volume.

“Our record performance in the second quarter — our strongest quarter ever — reaffirms the relevance of PayPal in the unfolding digital future,” Schulman said.

PayPal attributed much of its blowout quarter to its Venmo peer-to-peer (P2P) payments platform and QR code-based contactless-payments system.

Marking its best quarter ever, Venmo processed more than $37 billion of total payment volume, an increase of 52% over the same period last year. The app now has more than 60 million active accounts and PayPal executives see more growth ahead with the addition of direct deposit, an increase in businesses taking payments through the platform, and the planned launch of a Venmo card later this year

“We plan to continue to invest in building out Venmo because it’s got a really bright future and is really a crown jewel of ours,” Schulman said.

PayPal is planning to invest $300 million more this year, mostly on its mobile phone app that displays QR codes so that people can go into stores and pay without touching anything.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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