Internet payments made easy
PAYPAL is the world's largest electronic payments network with over $118bn (€89bn) of transactions processed in 2011, writes George Garvey.
PayPal was founded in 2000. In the early days of the internet, one of the biggest challenges for sellers was ensuring they were paid for the goods and services they provided. This was a particular problem for auction site eBay, which acquired PayPal in 2002.
In its early years the vast bulk of transactions using PayPal were eBay purchases. But in 2011 almost two-thirds of transactions were on behalf of merchants.
PayPal now has over 230 million accounts, operates in 190 markets and allows customers to send or receive funds in 25 currencies.