If you haven't ever paid for something at a store or coffee shop using your cell phone, chances are you will soon be in the minority. PayPal has just entered the white hot mobile payments space with the acquisition of FigCard, a startup that lets retailers take payments from smart phones by inserting a proprietary USB stick into their cash registers.

This is an obvious move for PayPal, long the dominant service for making payments online. As "digital wallets" pick up steam, the eBay-owned company needs to move quickly if it wants to gain a foothold in the increasingly competitive field that also includes Square, American Express, Zong and potentially Amazon, Google and Apple. FigCard co-founders Max Metral and Hasty Granbery will be joining the PayPal team to help give them an edge.

[PayPal Blog]