Infobox Dotcom company
company_name = PayPal Inc.
company_type = Subsidiary of eBay
genre =
foundation = Palo Alto, California USA (1998)
founder =
location_city =
location_country =
location = flagicon|USA San Jose, California USA
locations =
area_served =
key_people =
industry =
products =
services =
revenue =
operating_income =
net_income =
owner =
num_employees =
parent = eBay
divisions =
subsid =
company_slogan =
url = []

caption = PayPal homepage
website_type =
language = Multilingual
advertising = none
alexa = ~300
registration =
launch_date =
current_status = active
footnotes =
intl =

PayPal is an e-commerce business allowing payments and money transfers to be made through the Internet. PayPal serves as an electronic alternative to traditional paper methods such as cheques and money orders.

PayPal is a type of person-to-person (P2P) payment service. A P2P payment service allows anyone with an e-mail address to transfer funds electronically to someone else with an e-mail address. The initiator of an electronic funds transfer via PayPal must first register with and fund their PayPal account. A PayPal account can be funded with a check or money order, an electronic debit from a bank account or by a credit card. 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. PayPal is an example of a payment intermediary service that facilitates worldwide e-commerce.

PayPal performs payment processing for online vendors, auction sites, and other commercial users, for which it charges a fee. It sometimes also charges a transaction fee for receiving money (a percentage of the amount sent plus an additional fixed amount). The fees charged 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. [] On October 3, 2002, PayPal became a wholly owned subsidiary of eBay. [cite web |url= |title=It's official: eBay weds PayPal |publisher=CNet |author=Troy Wolverton |date=2002-10-03 |accessdate=2007-05-07] 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; and Austin, Texas in the U.S.; India; Dublin, Ireland; and Berlin, Germany, and now also in Tel-Aviv, Israel after PayPal acquired an Israeli startup called FraudSciences [] for $169 million. [cite web|url= |accessdate=2006-11-17|title=PayPal Careers] As of July 2007, across Europe, PayPal also operates as a Luxembourg-based bank.



The current incarnation of PayPal is the result of a March 2000 merger between Confinity and [cite web|url=
title=Findlaw Documentation
] Confinity was founded in December 1998 by Max Levchin, Peter Thiel, and Luke Nosek, initially as a Palm Pilot payments and cryptography company. [cite web|url=,1282,20958,00.html|date=2006-12-31
title=Wired Article
] was founded by Elon Musk in March 1999, initially as an Internet financial services company. Both Confinity and launched their websites in late 1999. Both companies were located on University Avenue in Palo Alto. Confinity's website was initially focused on reconciling beamed payments from Palm Pilots [cite web|url=|date=1999-07-27|title=Wired Article] with email payments as a feature and's website initially included financial services with email payments as a feature.

At Confinity, many of the initial recruits were alumni of "The Stanford Review", also founded by Peter Thiel, and most early engineers hailed from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, recruited by Max Levchin. On the side, Elon Musk recruited a wide range of technical and business personnel, including many that were critical to the combined company's success, such as Amy Klement, Sal Giambanco, Roelof Botha [ [ Roelof Botha - Venture Capitalist - Sequoia Capital ] ] of Sequoia Capital, Sanjay Bhargava and Jeremy Stoppelman. [ [ PayPal: An alternate history according to Elon Musk] ]

To block potentially fraudulent access by automated systems, PayPal devised a system (see CAPTCHA) of making the user enter numbers from a blurry picture, which they coined the Gausebeck-Levchin test. According to Eric M. Jackson, author of the book "The PayPal Wars", PayPal invented this system now in common use; however, there is evidence AltaVista used a CAPTCHA as early as 1997, before PayPal existed.Fact|date=June 2007 The neutrality of "The PayPal Wars", which was self-published by Eric Jackson through his company World Ahead Publishing, funded in part by Peter Thiel, is disputed. In either case, the PayPal CAPTCHA has been proven insecure. [ [ Breaking the CAPTCHA] ]

eBay watched the rise in volume of its online payments and realized the fit of an online payment system with online auctions. eBay purchased Billpoint in May 1999, prior to the existence of PayPal. eBay made Billpoint its official payment system, dubbing it "eBay Payments," but cut the functionality of Billpoint by narrowing it to only payments made for eBay auctions.

For this reason, PayPal was listed in several times as many auctions as Billpoint. In February 2000, the PayPal service had an average of approximately 200,000 daily auctions while Billpoint (in beta) had only 4,000 auctions. By April 2000, more than 1,000,000 auctions promoted the PayPal service. PayPal was able to turn the corner and become the first dot-com to IPO after the September 11 attacks.

Acquisition by eBay

In October 2002, PayPal was acquired by eBay for $1.5 billion. [cite news|author=Kane, Margaret|title=eBay picks up PayPal for $1.5 billion|url=|date=July 8, 2002|work=CNET|publisher=CNET Networks|accessdate=2007-11-13] 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 announced it would cease all operations on 31 December 2007, and it did. Some competitors which offer some of PayPal’s services, such as Wirecard, Moneybookers, 2Checkout, CCNow and Kagi, remain in business, despite the fact that eBay now requires everyone on its Australian and United Kingdom sites to offer PayPal. [ [ eBay announcement 24 March 2008 09:00AM GMT] ] [ eBay Australia announcing PayPal will be the exclusive payment method from 17 June 2008.]

PayPal’s total payment volume, the total value of transactions, was US$11 billion in the fourth quarter of 2006, an increase of 36% over the previous year. The company continues to focus on international growth and growth of its Merchant Services division, providing online payments for retailers off eBay.

Business today

Currently, PayPal operates in 190 markets, and it manages over 164 million accounts. PayPal allows customers to send, receive, and hold funds in 18 currencies worldwide. These currencies are the Australian dollar, 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, Mexican pesos, New Zealand dollar, Norwegian krone, Polish zloty, Singapore dollar, Swedish krona, Swiss franc and U.S. dollar. PayPal operates locally in 13 countries.

Residents in 190 markets can use PayPal in their local markets to send money online. These new markets include Peru, Indonesia, the Philippines, Croatia, Fiji, Vietnam and Jordan. A complete list can be viewed at PayPal's website.

In China PayPal offers two kinds of accounts:
* accounts, for sending and receiving money to/from other accounts. All non-Chinese accounts are accounts, so these accounts may be used to send money internationally.
* accounts, for sending and receiving money to and from other accounts.It is impossible to send money between accounts and accounts, so accounts are effectively unable to make international payments. For, the only supported currency is the renminbi.

Although PayPal's corporate headquarters are located in San Jose, PayPal’s operations center is located near Omaha, Nebraska, where the company employs more than 2,000 people as of 2007. [Virgil Larson, "Local building, global growth: PayPal opens facility, plans to expand staff to keep up with business," "Omaha World-Herald", 8 March 2007, 1D.] PayPal’s international headquarters is located in Dublin, Ireland. The company also recently opened a technology center in Scottsdale, Arizona.


The domain "" attracted at least 260 million visitors annually by 2008 according to a study. [ [ PayPal attracts 260m visitors online] ]

Bank status

In the United States, PayPal is licensed as a money transmitter on a state-by-state basis.Wolverton, Troy, [ FDIC decides PayPal's no bank] , "ZDNet News", 2002-03-13, accessed 2008-03-19] PayPal is not classified as a bank in the United States, though the company is subject to some of the rules and regulations governing the financial industry including Regulation E consumer protections and the USA PATRIOT Act. [Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (USA Patriot Act) Act of 2001, Pub. L. No. 107-56, 115 Stat. 272 (2001)] On May 15, 2007, PayPal announced that it would move its European operations from the UK to Luxembourg, commencing July 2, 2007 as PayPal (Europe) S.à r.l. & Cie, S.C.A.Stevenson, Tom, [ PayPal becomes a bank to fight off Google] , "Telegraph", 2007-05-16, accessed 2008-03-19] This would be as a Luxembourg entity regulated as a bank by the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF), the Luxembourg equivalent of the FSA.Press release, [ PayPal Expands European Growth With Bank Charter And New European Headquarters] , 2007-05-15, accessed 2008-03-19] PayPal Luxembourg will then provide the PayPal service throughout the European Union (EU).

afety and protection policies

The PayPal Buyer Protection Policy states that customers 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.

According to PayPal, it protects sellers in a limited fashion via the Seller Protection Policy. [ [ User Agreement for PayPal Service] (it reads in part: "Credit card chargeback rights, if they apply, are broader than PayPal Buyer Protection")] 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". Note that this contrasts with the consumer protection they claim to offer. This policy should be read carefully before assuming protection. In particular the Seller Protection 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 in-line paypal URL in this section. [ Disputes between Buyers and Sellers - Buyer Protection Programs.] ] A class-action lawsuit was filed against PayPal, days after the company's successful initial public offering. [PayPal] ]


ecurity key

In early 2007, 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 login ID and password, as he normally would, but then he is prompted to press the button on the security key and enter the six-digit number generated by it. This two-factor authentication is intended to prevent an account from being compromised by a malicious third party without access to the physical security key. However, if a user loses his key, he can alternatively authenticate by providing the credit card or bank account number listed on his account.

The key comes free with business accounts, but currently costs US$5.00 for personal users, with no ongoing fees. [ [ eBay Security Center: PayPal Security Key] ] The option of using a security key with one's account is currently available only to users registered in the United States, Germany and Australia. [ [;jsessionid=HtXJGK2vmnXLYrk1hQQhWLqYFJkv2TtkjbvcbtMwpZPdR8V8qBnL!-36873408?locale=en_US&_dyncharset=UTF-8&countrycode=US&cmd=_help&serverInstance=9006&t=solutionTab&ft=browseTab&ps=solutionPanels&solutionTopic=20167&solutionId=11333&isSrch=Yes PayPal Help Center] ]


Although PayPal has an extensive User Agreement, [] PayPal is not directly regulated by the U.S. federal government, because it serves as a payment intermediary [] . The law is unclear as to whether PayPal is a bank, narrow bank, money services business or money transmitter. PayPal could also be subject to state regulation, but state laws vary, as do their definitions of banks, narrow banks, money services businesses and money transmitters. The most analogous regulatory source of law for PayPal transactions comes from P2P payments using credit and debit cards. Ordinarily, a credit card transaction, specifically the relationship between the issuing bank and the cardholder, is governed by the Truth in Lending Act (TILA) 15 U.S.C. §§ 1601-1667f as implemented by Regulation Z, 12 C.F.R. pt. 226, (TILA/Z). TILA/Z requires specific procedures for billing errors, dispute resolution and limits cardholder liability for unauthorized charges. [Margaret Jane Radin et al., Internet Commerce The Emerging Legal Framework 1174-1175 Foundation Press (2d ed. 2006)] Similarly, the legal relationship between a debit cardholder and the issuing bank is regulated by the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA) 15 U.S.C. §§ 1693-1693r, as implemented by Regulation E, 12 C.F.R. pr. 205, (EFTA/E). EFTA/E is directed at consumer protection and provides strict error resolution procedures. [Margaret Jane Radin et al., Internet Commerce The Emerging Legal Framework 1176 Foundation Press (2d ed. 2006)] However, because PayPal is a “payment intermediary” and not otherwise regulated directly, TILA/Z and EFTA/E do not operate exactly as written once the credit/debit card transaction occurs via PayPal. Basically, unless a PayPal transaction is funded with a credit card, the consumer has no recourse in the event of fraud on behalf of the seller.


Money transfers via PayPal create an inherent risk of fraud due to the impersonal nature of internet commerce and the gap in regulatory treatment of PayPal transactions. The existing fraud protection regulations, EFTA/E and TILA/Z, do not apply to P2P account holders as they do debit/credit card transactions outside of a P2P payment service.

If an unauthorized third party obtains and uses someone’s PayPal login information and completes a transaction using the accountholder’s debit or credit card, EFTA/E and TILA/Z make PayPal responsible for the breach. There are, of course, fact specific exceptions to this rule. One is if funds are illicitly withdrawn from a PayPal deposit account. In that situation, neither PayPal or the bank is required to return the funds, because the agreement between a consumer and PayPal makes those types of transactions “authorized”. [Margaret Jane Radin et al., Internet Commerce The Emerging Legal Framework 1189-1190 Foundation Press (2d ed. 2006)]

PayPal account holders’ private information is marginally protected under one federal law. Since PayPal is a “financial institution” under the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLB), it cannot disclose its account holders’ nonpublic personal information to third parties unless account holders can opt out of those disclosures. [Margaret Jane Radin et al., Internet Commerce The Emerging Legal Framework 1188 Foundation Press (2d ed. 2006)]


PayPal has developed substantial anti-Phishing resources, [ [ Security Center] ] for identifying and reporting phishing.

Entrepreneurship by former employees

A number of companies have been started and funded by former PayPal employees. This trend prompted "The New York Times" to publish a story entitled "It Pays to Have Pals in Silicon Valley" that analyzes the connections between several PayPal employees who went on to become influential.cite web
url =
title = "It Pays to Have Pals in Silicon Valley"
last = Helft
first = Miguel
date= 2006-10-17
work = The New York Times
publisher=The New York Times Company
* LinkedIn was founded by Reid Hoffman, a former VP at PayPal.
* Facebook received its first angel investment from Peter Thiel.
* Clarium Capital Management is a hedge fund run by Peter Thiel. Principal partners at Clarium include Ken Howery and Luke Nosek, both of whom were among the earliest employees at PayPal.
* Slide was founded by Max Levchin, Jared Kopf, and former PayPal board member Scott Banister.
* Yelp was founded by Jeremy Stoppelmann, former VP of Engineering at PayPal, and Russ Simmons, one of the first employees at PayPal. Yelp is funded by Max Levchin.
* YouTube (now owned by Google) was founded by Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim, all of whom were early employees at PayPal. YouTube is funded by Sequoia Capital. Roelof Botha, the former CFO of PayPal, is a partner of Sequoia Capital who sits on YouTube's board of directors.
* Room 9 Entertainment, which produced the movie "Thank You for Smoking", was founded by David O. Sacks, who founded PayPal's Product Group and later served as Chief Operating Officer (COO).
* was also founded by David O. Sacks.
* SpaceX was founded by Elon Musk, who founded and served as the CEO following its merger with PayPal.
* Anchor Intelligence is run by Ken Miller, who was VP of Risk Management at PayPal and the architect of PayPal's anti-fraud system.
* Tesla Motors' principal owner and Chairman of the Board is Elon Musk.
* HourTown was founded by Ryan Donahue, an early product designer at PayPal


:"See also: Criticism of eBay"In September 2005, Richard Kyanka, owner of the website Something Awful, set up an account to collect donations for Hurricane Katrina to be given to the Red Cross. Due to the high rate at which donations were made, the account was automatically frozen, and Kyanka criticized the time and difficulty involved in getting PayPal's customer service to unfreeze the account. In response to the concerns of Something Awful members over the charity used by PayPal, United Way, Kyanka finally opted to have the money refunded to the donors so that they could donate directly to their charities of choice, though PayPal did not refund exchange and handling fees for international donors. [ [ Wired News] ] [ [ E-Commerce News: Security: Feds Investigating Fraudulent Katrina-Related Web Sites ] ]

In March 2008, Australian current affairs show "Today Tonight" aired a segment criticising PayPal, in regards to safety, freezing accounts and customer service. [ [ Youtube video of news report on eBay and PayPal aired March 2008 on an Australian news TV show called Today Tonight.] ]

Several PayPal gripe sites have been created complaining of frozen accounts and various other issues. [cite web|url=|date=2008-04-23| Website] Some of these include web forums where apparent unhappy customers share PayPal experiences. Typical experiences include freezing accounts of eCommerce stores if they experience rapid growth, preventing them from paying suppliers.

In June 2008 the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission found that "The evidence available does not support the view that PayPal is the most secure method of payment, or offers the best service for all transactions." [cite web|url=|title=Draft Notice in respect of a notification lodged by eBay International A.G.|publisher=Australian Competition and Consumer Commission|date=2008-06-12|accessdate=2008-07-03]


In 2002, CertCo filed a suit against PayPal claiming patent infringement concerning the use of distributed computing systems that process micropayments, or small cash amounts. In April 2002, CertCo dropped the suit and stated that they had come to a settlement involving "a non-consequential payment and mutual releases." [cite web
title=CertCo Drops PayPal Patent Suit

In March 2002, two PayPal account holders separately sued the company for alleged violations of the Electronic Funds Transfer Act (EFTA) and California law. Most of the allegations concerned PayPal's dispute resolution procedures. The two lawsuits were merged into one class action lawsuit (In re PayPal litigation). An informal settlement was reached in November 2003, and a formal settlement was signed on June 11, 2004. The settlement requires that PayPal change its business practices (including changing its dispute resolution procedures to make them EFTA-compliant), as well as making a US$9.25 million payment to members of the class. PayPal denied any wrongdoing. [cite web|url=|title=Settlement Agreement|date=2004-06-11]

In May 2002, Tumbleweed Communications filed a lawsuit against PayPal (and later expanded it to include eBay) claiming that PayPal had violated its patents for sending personalized links through e-mail which PayPal uses to alert its customers about financial transactions. In January 2004, the two parties came to an agreement, but didn't disclose the financial terms of their licensing agreement. [cite web
title=EBay Settles Patent Lawsuit With Tumbleweed Communications

In June 2003, filed a lawsuit against PayPal and eBay claiming breach of contract, breach of the implied covenants of good faith and fair dealing, and interference with contract, among other claims. In a 2002 license agreement, and PayPal agreed that technology would be made available to allow PayPal users to buy and print postage online from their PayPal accounts. claimed that PayPal did not live up to its contractual obligations and accused eBay of interfering with PayPal and's agreement, hence's reasoning for including eBay in the suit. [cite web
url= Asserts Breach of Contract Claim Against PayPal and eBay

In August 2002, Craig Comb and others filed a class action against PayPal in "Craig Comb, et al. v. PayPal, Inc.". They sued for alleged mishandling of customer accounts and customer services, with regards to PayPal's user agreement. Allegations included restricting deposited funds for up to 180 days until disputes are resolved, forcing customers to arbitrate their disputes under the American Arbitration Association's guidelines (a costly procedure), and requiring users to file claims individually, restricting class action suits. The court stated that "the User Agreement and arbitration clause are substantively unconscionable under California law" and ruled in favor of Comb. [cite web
title=Comb v. PayPal Inc.

In September 2003, PayPal filed suit against Bank One Corporation for patent infringement. PayPal claimed that Bank One's online bill-payment system was an infringement against their online bill-payment patent issued in 1998. PayPal filed the suit after a warning to the bank's lawyers in February went unabated. [cite web
title=Internet: PayPal Sues Bank One Over Patent Infringement

In November 2003, AT&T filed suit against eBay and PayPal claiming that their payment systems infringed an AT&T patent filed in 1991 and granted in 1994. [cite web
title=AT&T sues eBay, PayPal over patent

In March 2004, PayPal and New York state's Attorney General, Eliot Spitzer, came to an agreement to require PayPal to disclose clients' rights and liabilities more accurately and to pay $150,000 to the state of New York for penalties and the costs of the investigation. [cite web
title=Spitzer Obtains Agreement With E-Payment Service


External links

* [ PayPal]
* [ "Assessing Criticism of PayPal"] by Dr. Ralph F. Wilson, Web Commerce Today, Issue 56, March 15, 2002

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