If you're like many people, you're probably looking to the new year and trying to decide what your 2021 financial plan should look like, and which stocks might be a good bet in the coming year (and beyond). 

If you've got an extra $500 or more to spare, then you may want to consider snatching up a couple of shares of PayPal Holdings (NASDAQ:PYPL) before 2021. The financial technology stock is coming off of a very strong 2020 and is setting itself up for more long-term growth. Here's why you should consider buying it now. 

PayPal is tapping into new digital payment trends

PayPal's core payment business helps people easily conduct digital transactions with each other and with merchants. The company has been in the digital payments space since the early days of the internet and worked hard to establish itself as a leader in the market.

A pile of $100 bills.

Image source: Getty Images.

But that doesn't mean PayPal is satisfied with leading in just one area of digital payments. The company has also expanded its peer-to-peer payment app, Venmo, to now include payments to merchants, and recently added the ability to buy and sell cryptocurrencies through the app as well.

Another potential catalyst for the company's growth is PayPal's move earlier this year to offer contactless-payments in stores. The company has already partnered with CVS Health and Nike to allow people to use a QR code on their phones to easily pay for their goods at physical locations. PayPal is still in the early stages of this service, but it could eventually help the company's payment platform expand further into physical stores.

PayPal's lead in digital payments, combined with its investments in expanding Venmo's capabilities and digital payments in physical locations, is setting the company up to benefit from what is expected to be a $1.5 trillion digital payments market (by 2024).

The digital payments business is booming 

Even during the pandemic, PayPal's business has seen significant growth. The company reported record sales in the third quarter of $5.5 billion, a 25% year-over-year jump, and earnings soared 121%. PayPal's total payment volume, the amount spent on the company's platform, also spiked 36% to $247 billion.

Bolstering the company's impressive quarter was the addition of 15.2 million net new active accounts, pushing the company's total customer count up to 361 million. 

PayPal's management is estimating a strong finish for the full year as well, with total payment volume climbing about 30%, GAAP earnings jumping nearly 38%, and 70 million net new active accounts compared to the previous year.

Buy and hold for the long term 

PayPal's stock has rallied 114% in 2020, but I think long-term investors still have a chance to benefit from the company. PayPal is already a leader in the massive digital payments market and proved over the past year that it can continue growing its customer base, revenue, and payment volume despite a pandemic and a recession. 

I think the company's combination of new opportunities, like contactless in-person payments, combined with a U.S. economy that's beginning to recover, could bring even more growth for PayPal in the coming years.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.