In the centuries old world of banking and finance, anything relating to online is relatively new. The internet is a late 20th Century invention, so it’s all modern by comparison. But if any online financial brand deserves to be regarded as established in the contemporary world it is surely PayPal.
PayPal – a Brief History
The electronic payment system on which PayPal is based was introduced in the United States as long ago as 1998, although it was then known as Confinity. The PayPal name was introduced in 2001, when Elon Musk took sole control of the new payment system he had co-founded with a small team of fellow entrepreneurs.
The new payment system was an immediate success – so much so that the service was floated on the stock market the following year, raising over $60 million. The foundation of PayPal’s success was the fact that it was a very convenient method of payment for settling transactions on the new internet phenomenon of the time – eBay. This online marketplace was taking much of the world by storm – enabling people from all over the planet to trade with each other without the need to meet or visit a real world store.
The main problem though was making payments. The old fashioned method of sending a cheque by post was intolerably slow when transactions could be agreed in seconds. Waiting for a cheque to arrive, then for funds to clear, and then finally despatching the goods was an very cumbersome way to do business. PayPal solved this problem by acting as a trusted intermediary, enabling (for a small commission fee) transactions to be completed almost instantly.
At the time of PayPal’s public flotation, around a quarter of eBay’s transactions were completed using the service, and almost three quarters of sales offered PayPal as a payment option. This reliance on the new electronic payment system cause eBay to step straight in and buy PayPal just a few months later, paying around $1.5 billion – not a bad profit for a few months’ work.
PayPal became in effect the default payment service for eBay customers, and the service went from strength to strength. This included attempts to diversify beyond its regular eBay market, which were also successful. This meant that PayPal became an online payment of choice, used much more widely that on just eBay, where it earned the vast majority of its early revenue.
This meant that in 2014, eBay took the decision to spin off the payment system so that it could be run in a more independent way and continue to find new markets. Today, it remains an independent company, listed on the New York NASDAQ stock exchange. Shares are valued at around $120 at the time of writing. Financial results for 2019 (the latest figures available at the time of writing) show around $18 billion in total revenue, an increase of 18% on the previous year, derived from well over $700 billion worth of transactions. These figures were derived from a total of over 12 billion individual transactions across the world.
PayPal is now a trusted online payment covering almost the entire planet, with over 300 million active account holders. It operates in more than 200 different markets across the world, and payments can be made in any of over 100 different currencies. It remains the online payment of choice for millions of people all around the globe.
How Does PayPal Work?
PayPal is really simple to use. All you need to start is an e-mail address. You just need to add a few personal details and come up with a secure password, and that’s it. You will then need to link your account to a debit card, credit card or bank current account.
Once these are added, you won’t be asked for these details again, not even when you use PayPal to make payments online. Instead, you just authorise payments by being re-directed to PayPal and entering your PIN. The payment to the online vendor is then authorised, and funds are withdrawn via your linked account. If you have the PayPal, app, you may not even need to enter your PIN.
There are no fees to pay for making payments. The only exception is if there are currency conversion fees to consider. Instead, the retailer or vendor receiving your payment pays a small commission charge. It’s all extremely secure: your payment or banking details are never sent to the vendor, and the transaction itself is also encrypted.
You can also make payments to individuals if you wish. All you need is their e-mail address or mobile number. The recipient will also need to open a PayPal account if they don’t have one already.
Apple Pay and Online Gaming
PayPal is now accepted by many online bingo and casino sites. In fact, it is one of the most popular ways of paying for play online, so look out for the PayPal icon whenever you need to make your deposits. You can find out if a bingo or casino brand accepts PayPal by checking the Deposit Methods link on any Oh My Bingo review.