Throwback Thursday: PayPal's Biggest Days In History

There are a handful of big dates that stand out for PayPal — one of which hasn't happened yet, but will soon be marked down in PayPal's timeline of big events.

That date, of course, is July 20, 2015: when PayPal officially splits from eBay and begins trading again as PYPL.

For this week's Throwback Thursday, PYMNTS wanted to take you through a brief history tour of big days for the payments network, and share what else was going on in the U.S. during PayPal's big moments.

 September 1998: PayPal's Story Begins (Before It was PayPal)

The tone has been set. Peter Thiel and Max Levchin met just a month prior, and they soon would launch Fieldlink, which PayPal described on its blog as "a security focused company which allowed users to store encrypted information on Palm Pilots and other PDA devices, enabling their handheld devices to become digital wallets."

Digital wallets, the duo claims at the time, are safer because money can't be stolen the same way as cash can be from a physical wallet.

What else happened that month?

  • On Sept. 27, 1998, Google launched. Who knew that 17 years later, the two companies would be mobile wallet competitors.

 December 1998: PayPal's Early Days

In a town called Palto Alto, California, it was the year 1998. The vision that PayPal’s founders — Max Levchin, Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Luke Nosek, and Ken Howery — formed was finally coming together. Initially, Levchin and Thiel launched Confinity, which later merged with the online banking company PayPal eventually become the main focus and later was used as the name of the company. changed its name to PayPal in June 2001.

What else happened that month?

  • Dec. 1, 1998: The world's largest oil company, ExxonMobil, was created after Exxon bought Mobil for $73.7 billion.



October 1999: Welcome PayPal

  • PayPal as we know it has marked a new era and consumers learn how they can make payments using email.

What else happened that month?

  • Fun fact: On Oct. 12, 1999, the sixth billionth living human in the world was born. That's a lot of consumers.

January 2000: PayPal Meets eBay

PayPal logos slowly made their way to eBay's marketplace, so PayPal saw a business opportunity and made it so eBay shoppers could pay on the marketplace via PayPal. eBay agrees and PayPal's account base jumps to 100,000.

What else happened that month?

  • On Jan. 13, 2000, Microsoft's Chairman and CEO Bill Gates stepped down in his position to promote Microsoft's President Steve Ballmer. He stayed in the role until February 2014.

 February 2002: PayPal Becomes PYPL (Part 1)

On Feb. 15, 2002, PayPal joined the world of publicly traded companies. And according to a CNN Money report from the day, it did quite well for itself on Day 1.

According to the report, PayPal's stock went up close to 55 percent on NASDAQ, making it the year's best first gain for a newly issued company. Shares of PayPal hit a high of $22.44, which was up significantly from its $13 IPO price. And when PayPal went public the first time, CNN called it "a leading maker of interfaces, or 'touch pads,' for notebook computers."

PayPal raised $70.2 million for its IPO.

What else happened that month?

  • It was a big month for the sports world. The New England Patriots won Super Bowl XXXVI and the XIX Winter Olympics were held in Salt Lake City, Utah.

July 8, 2002: eBay Acquires PayPal

It didn't take long after PayPal went public for eBay to see the value in the company that already had 1 million users. eBay announced in July 2002 that it would be acquiring the payments network for $1.5 billion, and it was made official in October.

What else happened that month?

  • July 21, 2002: WorldCom, the Telecom giant, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. At the time, this was the largest filing of its type in U.S. history.

 Sept. 30, 2014: 12 Years Later — Spinoff Talk Confirmed

News of the spinoff broke. eBay and PayPal no longer would be one after the company finally gave in to the demands from eBay's largest shareholder, Carl Icahn. It was announced at the time that the spinoff would occur some time in the second half of 2014, and we now know that date will be July 20.

What else happened that month?

  • Sept. 19, 2014: the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus were officially released to the public.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.

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