PayPal is reportedly set to launch a virtual payment system to extend its reach onto sites that don’t currently run its software.

Called PayPal Secure Card, the browser plug-in can detect when a shopper lands on an etailer’s checkout page and automatically fills in their stored financial details to save them time.

Launched through a partnership with MasterCard, it forms PayPal’s response to a similar innovation by rival Google Checkout as the two battle for growth in uptake.

Chris George, director of financial products for PayPal, told Reuters:

“From a merchant’s perspective this looks like any other MasterCard transaction. And it’s just another PayPal purchase to the customer.”

Secure Card will apparently be launched for Internet Explorer and Firefox users in the US on Tuesday, followed by shoppers in international markets.

PayPal will hope it helps to drive further growth in transaction volumes – in Q3, it said it processed $12.22bn in payments, a rise of 34% year on year.

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