What is 'PayPal'

PayPal is an electronic commerce (e-commerce) company that facilitates payments between parties through online funds transfers. PayPal allows customers to establish an account on its website, which is connected to a user's credit card or checking account. Once identification and proof of funds have been confirmed, a user may begin sending or receiving payments to and from other PayPal accounts. PayPal attempts to make online purchases safer by providing a form of payment that does not require the payor or payee to disclose credit card or bank account numbers.

BREAKING DOWN 'PayPal'

PayPal broke into the mainstream when it appeared as a payment facilitator for eBay auctions. The service became so popular that eBay decided to acquire PayPal in 2002, making it the official transfer service for its website. In 2015, PayPal was spun off as an independent company. Throughout its history, PayPal has acquired other companies that serve different parts of the financial transaction, digital money transfer, and payments markets. Some of these acquisitions brought technology enhancements and additional features that were incorporated into the PayPal platform as the companies were absorbed.

Services PayPal Offers

The acquisitions and internal development of PayPal has led the company to offer different types of services to its users. For example, PayPal users can put funds towards digital gift cards they send to others through the platform. The PayPal.Me service lets users share a link with others in order to receive payments. This can include splitting a check among people at dinner or receiving payment from customers when a service is provided.

Depending on the types of accounts that are set up with the platform, there may or may not be fees with each transaction.

Numerous online stores include PayPal is a payment option alongside taking credit card information directly. Purchases made with a select few online retailers may include a discount from PayPal or a cashback offer of some sort. PayPal also offers its own branded credit, made possible through Synchrony Bank. Those who are approved will be supplied with MasterCard credit cards. The company also offers debit cards, including prepaid cards.

Is it safe?

Although PayPal is not a bank, it is still subject to many of the same consumer protection regulations by which banks are governed. For example, under banking regulations, the extent of your liability for an unauthorized transaction is determined by how promptly you notify the bank that unauthorized activity has occurred in your account. Notifying PayPal quickly when you have concerns will help to limit your liability, and it is recommended that PayPal users check their accounts regularly.

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