In technology as in culture, when the traditional players take a page from the innovators’ playbook, one of two things generally happens. The traditional player’s adoption of innovation can be so successful that it co-opts

or even bests the innovators (remember back when Google's acquisition of Twitter was inevitable? Remember Google Buzz?).

Or the opposite can happen, and traditional actors become plot points on the way to the paradigm shift (see: AOL, MySpace).

We don’t know if either of these scenarios will play out with Visa’s entry into PayPal’s space with Rightcliq, but PayPal, debit cards, waning customer confidence, micropayments, new legislation and even Gen Y are certainly chipping away at the credit card industry.

Visa’s Rightcliq “is an online shopping tool targeted to consumers that assists online shoppers by offering the ability to browse multiple merchants and select items consumers are interested in looking at in one central location, making comparison shopping easier,” Joseph Saunders, Visa’s chairman and CEO, said in an October 2009 conference call.

Rightcliq is essentially a place to collect your payment and delivery information. It allows users to collate a “Wishspace” where they can bookmark their desired purchases, comparison shop and e-mail product images to friends. In essence, it’s an emulation of PayPal, which has 81 million active accounts and whose recent partnership with Facebook brings aboard more than 300 million potential customers.

Rightcliq is currently available in beta. Not many details are available right now from Visa, but analysts expect a more robust version to be available in Spring.

Analysts see the move as an attempt to take a share from PayPal, according to Internet Retailer.

“It’s too early to tell if Visa is going to be a challenger,” said Scot Wingo, CEO of ChannelAdvisor Corp . “They can get the consumer usage piece, but working with SMBs and the stored-balance piece remain to be seen.”

By Mark Alvarez