Tradeshift lights the touchpaper – integrates PayPal into its free invoicing platform

Tradeshift, which describes itself as the “Skype for invoicing”, has integrated PayPal into its free e-invoicing platform for customers in the UK and the US. Now customers will be able to make direct payments of their invoices, resulting in faster transactions and reduced rates for international transfers compared to regular banks. All that’s required is a PayPal Business Payments account, which means they only pay a minimal flat rate regardless of how large the payment amount is.

Clicking the “Pay with PayPal” automatically populates the invoice, saving time and reducing human error. Clearly Tradeshift has decided to user PayPal as a way to get around global bank fund transfers. Tradeshift’s ‘social network’ for business transactions plus Paypal’s payment platform look like a killer combination.

The Danish startup’s free invoicing platform is a direct challenge to banking systems and credit card processing. Instead of nickel-and-dimming companies for invoicing, Tradeshift’s business model is based on creating an API platform for free, legally binding invoicing and then allowing third parties to create other applications, as well as leveraging their own. Last June it announced a raft of new partners in the SaaS accounting space, for instance.

Admittedly Tradeshift does have competitors, such as OB10 which operates an Electronic Data Interchange. In February OB10 signed an agreement with Virgin Atlantic to service the company’s global invoice process management for their US and UK operations. There is also the well-estanblished

However, none leverage open Web technologies in the way Tradeshift does, essentially dragging invoicing and business transactions into the 21st century via open standards and the cloud – news which we broke on its launch in February last year.

We’ve also got a deal for you. For the first 250 TechCrunch readers who sign and invoice “Tradeshift Network Ltd. (Campaign)” with the line “Shift Happens” in the invoice using PayPal payments, will receive $10 immediately. Tradeshift is also giving new and existing customers an additional $5 in PayPal payouts for each contact they introduce to Tradeshift.

Tradeshift is based in Copenhagen with offices in London, Munich, Bern, and Brasil with customers in 150 countries.