What is PayPal and how to use it: The definitive guide

PayPal has been providing an alternative to cash and check transactions for nearly two decades now, but how much do you really know about the financial giant? It’s grown enormously since the days when it was best known for making payments on Ebay, expanding to hundreds of countries around the world with millions of active customers. So what is PayPal and how do you use it? Keep reading for everything you need to know!
What is PayPal?
PayPal is one of the largest online payment transfer platforms in the world, serving more than 200 countries in 25 currencies. Its long history, wide breadth of features, and secure payments give it an advantage over competitors like Venmo , Apple Pay , and Stripe.
Read also:   How to set up a PayPal account — all your questions answered
PayPal allows you to make purchases online via Amazon, Ebay, or any other retailer, or make simple money transfers between other PayPal accounts or supported bank accounts around the world. With robust fraud protection for both buyers and sellers, it’s one of the safest and most reliable ways to transfer money online.
Is PayPal safe?

For basic money transfers or buying products online, PayPal is safe to use. Its buyer protection program is similar to what you get with a credit card, and all data is encrypted and secure.
For sellers, the matter is a bit more complicated. The company offers some limited seller protection programs, but generally the company with side with the buyer on disputed charges, even if the claims are questionable. PayPal is also not FDIC-insured, so in the unlikely event that the company goes under, you may lose your balance. For these reasons, it’s generally fine to incorporate PayPal into your business, but it isn’t a replacement for a bank.
As always, you should take precautions with your financial data online. Use secure passwords and two-factor authentication . It also pays to be skeptical of non-reputable buyers or sellers, shipping only to verified addresses.
You may also want to tie your account to a credit card rather than a debit card and turn off instant transfers from your bank account. This will afford you the extra protection of disputing the claim with your credit card company in addition to PayPal.
How to send money to friends and family with PayPal

Sending money to friends and family is one of the main features of PayPal, especially for those without reliable banks or those living abroad. The entire process can be done in under a minute from your smartphone or PC, and all you need is someone’s name, email address, or phone number.
How to send money from the PayPal app

Open the PayPal app and tap Send .
Enter the name , email address , or phone number of the recipient and tap Next .
Enter the amount to send and tap Next .
Select the payment method and tap Next again.