PayPal experienced its fastest active account growth rate in years during the fourth quarter, according to parent company eBay Inc.

This growth of 15%, to 122.7 million active accounts, came in part from the company's activity in mobile commerce.

"Mobile continues to rewrite the commerce playbook, and we continue to be a mobile commerce and payments leader," John Donahoe, eBay's president and CEO, said in a press release Jan. 16. "eBay mobile finished the year with $13 billion in volume — more than double the prior year — and PayPal mobile handled almost $14 billion in payment volume, more than triple the prior year. In 2013, we expect each to exceed $20 billion."

The $14 billion in mobile payments is a 250% increase from a year earlier.

PayPal's net revenue grew 24%, to $1.54 billion, from the same period a year earlier. Its net total payment volume grew 24%, to $41.47 billion. EBay's net revenue grew 18%, to $3.99 billion. Its net income dropped 62%, to $751 million, compared to the fourth quarter of 2011, when eBay's higher income reflected the sale of its remaining investment in Skype.

PayPal's digital wallet is now accepted by 23 merchants with a combined 18,000 retail locations, eBay says.

PayPal defines an active account as one that has sent or received at least one payment or payment reversal in the prior 12 months. It also includes Bill Me Later credit accounts that are currently able to transact and have received a statement in the prior 12 months.

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