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Paypal is a company that mediates credit card payments between individuals (normally you need a “merchant account” to accept credit card payments). Very simple user interface, makes smart use of e-mail (you can paypal money “to” any e-mail address — recipient gets a notice that he has received money but needs a Paypal account to pick it up – great incentive). New members get $5 for free, also referral program where people who refer users to Paypal get the $5.

Became popular through their partnership with eBay ( Now leading user-to-user payment service.

Critics cite high amount of fraud, bad customer service and mismanagement. See PayPalSucks (, Feb 2001 Salon article (


  • One million customers in April 2000
  • IPO in February 2002
  • Bought by eBay in July 2002


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