Based out of their head offices in Silicon Valley, California, PayPal is the world’s leading platform for financial transactions online.
Wholly owned by eBay following a 2002 buyout, it has become far and away the most used method for webs transactions – by 2012, the company had been responsible for an accumulated $145 billion in money transfers, and had an estimated annual income of around $1.37 billion in 2013.
Unlike traditional transaction companies such as Visa and MasterCard (who charge banks for their use of their infrastructure), PayPal earn money by taking a cut of the any transaction before depositing it into the recipients account – usually deducting 20p and around 3.4% of the total from any incomings.
One reason for the growth of PayPal has been the wider development of ecommerce around it – with consumers becoming more comfortable than ever before with purchasing online, the company have managed to almost monopolise the market in online money transfers.
The relatively low number of fraud cases the company experience has been key to this, with PayPal continually developing new methods to combat scams and identity theft.
PayPal have also branched out in to providing solutions for smaller companies who run physical stores – introducing their Chip and Pin reader, PayPal Here, in 2013. Offering business owners a secure and low-cost way to deal with credit and debit card payments, PayPal are still a relatively small player in this particular market, dealing almost exclusively with independent traders and low-value sales.