PayPal is a global e-commerce business allowing payments and money transfers to be made through the Internet. Online money transfers serve as electronic alternatives to paying with traditional paper methods, such as checks and money orders. PayPal is an acquirer, performing payment processing for online vendors, auction sites, and other commercial users, for which it charges a fee.
It may also charge a fee for receiving money, proportional to the amount received. The fees depend on the currency used, the payment option used, the country of the sender, the country of the recipient, the amount sent and the recipient's account type. In addition, eBay purchases made by credit card through PayPal may incur extra fees if the buyer and seller use different currencies.
On October 3, 2002, PayPal became a wholly owned subsidiary of eBay. Its corporate headquarters are in San Jose, California, United States at eBay's North First Street satellite office campus. The company also has significant operations in Omaha, Nebraska, Scottsdale, Arizona, Charlotte, North Carolina and Austin, Texas in the United States; Chennai in India; Dublin in Ireland; Kleinmachnow in Germany; and Tel Aviv in Israel. From July 2007, PayPal has operated across the European Union as a Luxembourg-based bank.
On March 17, 2010, PayPal entered into an agreement with China UnionPay (CUP), China's bankcard association, to allow Chinese consumers to use PayPal to shop online. PayPal is planning to expand its workforce in Asia to 2,000 by the end of the year 2010.
In October 2002, PayPal was acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion. PayPal had previously been the payment method of choice by more than fifty percent of eBay users, and the service competed with eBay's subsidiary Billpoint, Citibank's c2it, whose service was closed in late 2003, and Yahoo!'s PayDirect, whose service was closed in late 2004.
Western Union announced the December 2005 shut down of their BidPay service but subsequently sold it in 2006 to CyberSource Corporation. BidPay subsequently ceased operations on December 31, 2007. Some competitors that offer some of PayPal's services, such as Google Checkout, Wirecard, and Moneybookers remain in business, despite the fact that eBay now requires everyone on its Australian and United Kingdom sites to offer PayPal. eBay Australia was subsequently forced to moderate its position by the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission, mandating that sellers on eBay Australia offer PayPal as one of the (but not necessarily the only) payment methods.
These accepted payment methods include bank deposit, cheques and money orders, escrow, and credit cards (processed by other than PayPal).
In January 2008, PayPal agreed to acquire Fraud Sciences, a privately held Israeli start-up company with expertise in online risk tools, for $169 million, in order to enhance eBay and PayPal's proprietary fraud management systems and accelerate the development of improved fraud detection tools. In November 2008, the company acquired Bill Me Later, an online payments company offering transactional credit at over 9000 online merchants in the US.
As of 2012, PayPal accounted for 40% of eBay's revenue, amounting to US$1.37 billion in the 3rd quarter of 2012.
As of 2011, PayPal operates in 190 markets and manages more than 232 million accounts, more than 100 million of them active. PayPal allows customers to send, receive, and hold funds in 26 currencies worldwide. These currencies are the Australian dollar, Brazilian real, Canadian dollar, Chinese renminbi yuan (only available for some Chinese accounts, see below), euro, pound sterling, Japanese yen, Czech koruna, Danish krone, Hong Kong dollar, Hungarian forint, Israeli new sheqel, Malaysian ringgit, Mexican peso, New Zealand dollar, Norwegian krone, Philippine peso, Polish zloty, Singapore dollar, Swedish krona, Swiss franc, New Taiwan dollar, Thai baht, Turkish lira and US dollar. PayPal operates locally in 21 countries.
Residents in 194 markets can use PayPal in their local markets to send money online.
PayPal revenues for Q1 2009 were $643 million, up 11 percent year over year. 42 percent of revenues in Q1 2009 were from international markets. PayPal's Total Payment Volume (TPV), the total value of transactions in Q1 2009 was nearly $16 billion, up 10 percent year over year.
In 2008, PayPal's TPV off eBay exceeded volume on eBay for the first time. PayPal's Total Payment Volume in 2008 was $60 billion, representing nearly 9 percent of global e-commerce and 15 percent of US e-commerce.
At an analyst day on March 11, 2009, eBay CEO John Donahoe announced that PayPal could be a larger driver of revenue than the eBay marketplaces business. RIM (now BlackBerry) announced that PayPal will be the only payment mechanism for its BlackBerry App World (now BlackBerry World), which launched on April 1, 2009. However, by April 2011 RIM started offering two other options: credit card payment and mobile carrier billing (using the Bango Payment system).
PayPal launched Student Accounts for teens in August 2009, allowing parents to set up a student account, transfer money into it, and obtain a debit card for student use. The program provides tools to teach teens how to spend money wisely and take responsibility for their actions.
In November 2009, PayPal opened its platform, allowing other services to get access to its code and to use its infrastructure in order to enable peer-to-peer online transactions.
Although PayPal's corporate headquarters are located in San Jose, PayPal's operations center is located in Omaha, Nebraska, where the company employed more than 2,000 people as of 2007. PayPal's European headquarters are in Luxembourg and international headquarters are in Singapore. In October 2007, PayPal opened a data service office on the north side of Austin, Texas. Previously, the company opened a technology center in Scottsdale, Arizona, and Chennai, India.
On November 28, 2011, PayPal reported Black Friday brought record mobile engagement including a 538 percent increase in global mobile payment volume when compared to Black Friday 2010.
Originally, a PayPal account could be funded with an electronic debit from a bank account or by a credit card at the payer's choice. But some time in 2010 or early 2011, PayPal began to require a verified bank account after the account holder exceeded a predetermined spending limit. After that point, PayPal will attempt to take funds for a purchase from funding sources according to a specified funding hierarchy. If you set one of the funding sources as Primary, it will default to that, within that level of the hierarchy (for example, if your credit card ending in 4567 is set as the Primary over 1234, it will still attempt to pay money out of your PayPal balance, before it attempts to charge your credit card). The funding hierarchy is (1) a balance in the PayPal account; (2) a PayPal credit account, PayPal Extras, PayPal SmartConnect, PayPal Extras MasterCard or Bill Me Later (if selected as primary funding source) (It can bypass the Balance); (3) a verified bank account; (4) other funding sources, such as non-PayPal credit cards.
The recipient of a PayPal transfer can either request a check from PayPal, establish their own PayPal deposit account or request a transfer to their bank account.
The PayPal Buyer Protection Policy states that the customer may file a buyer complaint within 45 days if they did not receive an item or if the item they purchased was significantly not as described. If the buyer used a credit card, they might get a refund via chargeback from their credit-card company. However, in the UK, where such a purchaser is entitled to specific statutory protections (that the credit card company is a second party to the purchase and is therefore equally liable in law if the other party defaults or goes into liquidation) under Section 75 Consumer Credit Act 1979, the purchaser loses this legal protection if the card payment is processed via PayPal.
According to PayPal, it protects sellers in a limited fashion via the Seller Protection Policy. In general the Seller Protection Policy is intended to protect the seller from certain kinds of chargebacks or complaints if seller meets certain conditions including proof of delivery to the buyer. PayPal states the Seller Protection Policy is "designed to protect sellers against claims by buyers of unauthorized payments and against claims of non-receipt of any merchandise". The policy includes a list of "Exclusions" which itself includes "Intangible goods", "Claims for receipt of goods 'not as described'" and "Total reversals over the annual limit". There are also other restrictions in terms of the sale itself, the payment method and the destination country the item is shipped to (simply having a tracking mechanism is not sufficient to guarantee the Seller Protection Policy is in effect). The PayPal Seller Protection Policy does not provide the additional consumer protection afforded by UK consumer legislation (e.g., Sale of Goods Act) and in addition it cannot be enforced in the Courts because PayPal operates from Luxembourg, outside all three of the UK legal jurisdictions.
In early 2006, PayPal introduced an optional security key as an additional precaution against fraud. A user account tied to a security key has a modified login process. The account holder enters his or her login ID and password as normal, but is then prompted to press the button on the security key and enter the six-digit number generated by it.
For convenience, the user may append the six-digit number to his or her password in the login screen. This way he or she is not prompted for it on another page. This method is required for some services, such as when using PayPal through the eBay application on iPhone.
This two-factor authentication is intended to make it difficult for an account to be compromised by a malicious third party without access to the physical security key, although it does not prevent so-called Man in the Browser (MITB) attacks. However, the user (or malicious third party) can alternatively authenticate by providing the credit card or bank account number listed on his or her account. Thus the PayPal implementation does not offer the security of true two-factor authentication.
The key currently costs US$29.95 for all users with no ongoing fees. The option of using a security key with one's account is currently available only to users registered in Australia, Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States.