After its management reported 2022 guidance for revenue, earnings, and net new accounts that disappointed Wall Street, PayPal's (PYPL 1.43%) stock tanked. The shares have tumbled more than 30% since the Feb. 1 announcement. And PayPal's stock has fallen a remarkable 60% from its all-time high in July 2021.
Amid all the negativity, though, there were some bright spots in PayPal's fourth-quarter financial release. Opportunistic investors should consider these data points and look past the near-term pessimism. After all, PayPal is trading at a price-to-earnings ratio of 30, the lowest it's ever been at since spinning off from eBay in 2015.
Here are three reasons you might want to buy this top fintech stock right now.
1. Total payment volume is astounding
For all of 2021, PayPal processed $1.25 trillion in total payment volume (TPV), marking the first time in the company's history that it eclipsed the 13-figure milestone. This was up 33% from the prior year, a clear indication of the strength of PayPal's network. For 2022, the leadership team forecasts TPV of $1.5 trillion. This is a gargantuan amount, and it underscores just how important the business has become in digital payments and e-commerce.
Venmo, the company's popular personal finance app, grew TPV 44% in 2021 to $230 billion. "We are still at the beginning of our monetization journey with Amazon implementing the option to pay with Venmo later this year," Chief Executive Officer Dan Schulman said on the Q4 earnings call. Adding capabilities like buying and selling cryptocurrencies, check cashing, and business profiles to Venmo certainly also support growing TPV in the years ahead.
2. Engagement is rising
Another impressive metric from PayPal's latest financial release was that the average account conducted 45.4 transactions over the trailing-12-month period. The business now has 426 million active accounts, of which 34 million are merchants.
New features in the flagship PayPal app that were introduced last year, like bill payment, early direct deposit, and shopping rewards and deals, help the company make progress in becoming a complete financial services app for users.
But management will now "focus on sustainable, high-quality growth to drive engagement and increased revenue per active account," I fully expect transactions per account to continue marching higher as the business lets its least-engaged customers roll off.
"We're seeing double the average revenue per active account when somebody uses our app versus just checkout," Schulman said. "When somebody uses the app their propensity to churn is 25% less," he continued. So, the name of the game is to attract more valuable customers and get them using multiple services.
3. PayPal is a cash machine
With a stock that just crashed as much as PayPal did, it's easy to forget how outstanding the company's financial situation is. This is a capital-light business model that has proven to be a very lucrative cash machine.
PayPal generated $5.4 billion of free cash flow in 2021. Put another way, for every $1 in revenue the company brought in last year, a little more than $0.21 turned into cash. This financial flexibility gives PayPal the ability to continue pursuing strategic initiatives, like the $2.7 billion acquisition of Paidy, a Japanese buy now, pay later fintech. The company also has the wherewithal to introduce new features and updates to bolster its competitive position in the crowded digital-payments market.
What's more, management has the means to return capital to shareholders in the form of stock buybacks. In the most recent quarter, PayPal repurchased $1.5 billion worth of stock. As of Dec. 31, PayPal had $16.3 billion in cash compared with $8 billion of long-term debt. Many companies would love being in this position.
I briefly touched on PayPal's current valuation in the introduction. Clearly, the pessimism surrounding the stock right now couldn't be any higher.
If investors truly believe that the company's slowing growth is just temporary, particularly in this dynamic economy, then it shouldn't be hard to zoom out and focus on the long term.
For an investor with this mindset, PayPal's shares could be a screaming buy today.