What is PayPal? A Simple Guide…

by | 18/11/2020 5:25 pm
This blog post may contain affiliate links

Today mobile and online payments are increasingly common-place. There’s Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay…the list goes on and on. But before mobile and online payments were all the rage there was PayPal.

PayPal was one of the first online payment processors on the scene–and it’s still one of the largest. Here’s what you need to know about the service that launched an entire industry.

PayPal History

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It’s hard to believe, but PayPal is now 22 years old. It was founded in December 1998 at the height of the Dotcom boom (or, more accurately, bubble). But in 1998 the company was called Confinity. A year later, Confinity merged with X.com. X.com was a historic moment in PayPal’s history. Though you may not have heard of X.com–you’ve certainly heard of its owner: Elon Musk.

Yes, that Elon Musk. The eccentric billionaire owner of Tesla and SpaceX. Matter of fact, PayPal is how Musk got his billions. A little more than a year after the merger of Continuity and X.com, the modern PayPal was born. The company officially changed its name and went public in 2002.

However, in another turn of events, shortly after PayPal went public, online auction giant eBay bought the company. The move made sense for eBay as in the early days PayPal was the primary way people paid for goods they bought on eBay. But the saga doesn’t end there. In 2015 eBay spun off PayPal into its own company again.

But bottom line: in the 22 years since PayPal was founded, it went from just being the way people pay for their online auction winnings to the way we pay for most things online–and the way we send (or receive) money from our friends and family. Nowadays it’s heard to din an e-commerce site that doesn’t take PayPal as a form of payment.

Why Should I Use PayPal?

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It just makes your life easier. PayPal payments are so pervasive on the web, virtually every e-commerce site uses PayPal’s system. A big advantage of using PayPal is you don’t need to give your personal payment card details to every site on the internet. When you want to buy something from the site, you just need to click the PayPal payment button and the money will automatically be taken from your PayPal account (if you have a balance) or the credit or debit card associated with the PayPal account.

And as already stated, PayPal makes peer-to-peer payments easy. You can quickly send or receive money to/from friends and family with just a few taps using the PayPal app.

How Do I Get A PayPal Account?

It couldn’t be easier: just go to PayPal.com and sign up for an account. On the sign-up page, you’ll need to choose between a personal or business account. If you’re just planning to use a PayPal account to pay for purchases online and send money to friends and family you just need a personal account.

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Does PayPal Cost Money?

For most transactions via Personal PayPal accounts, no. PayPal does charge businesses a transaction fee–usually a fixed fee plus a percentage of the total transaction. But for personal users, you’re unlikely to ever see a fee–especially if you just use PayPal to pay for online goods and send money to family.

How Do I Pay With PayPal?

After you’ve created a PayPal account, you simply log into that account in your web browser. Then, whenever you see a Pay with PayPal button in an online shopping cart, just click that and follow the instructions. Your purchase will be paid via your PayPal account in just a few steps.

And it’s not just websites, many apps offer Pay with PayPal options inside of them, so you can use your PayPal account across a variety of platforms. Finally, as QR codes have become more common, PayPal now lets you use their app to scan a QR code so you can make contactless mobile payments on the fly.

Frequently Asked Questions

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