PayPal is a popular tool for sending and receiving money online. Though it's been in business since 2002, the most important concern is security. How safe is PayPal?
- PayPal currently has 361 million active users.
- eBay bought PayPal for $1.5 billion, only to separate from it in 2015.
- The average PayPal user conducts 40 transactions per year.
- 87.5% of online buyers use PayPal.
- PayPal had $5.46 billion in net revenue in 2020
- PayPal accounts for 22% of online transactions in the US.
- The average PayPal user has $485 in their account.
For the most part, it’s safe to use the service and link your accounts to PayPal. The level of risk depends on what you use the service for.
- Buyers will find that PayPal is an easy and secure way to make purchases.
- Sellers can also benefit from using PayPal, but there are risks to be aware of. Those risks aren’t unique to PayPal, but some sellers are unaware of potential problems.
For the most part, PayPal is safe when you use it to send money. No system is completely risk-free—glitches and data breaches are likely to happen to any company in the internet age, even the best ones. But PayPal is a reputable company with the highest safety and consumer protection standards in place to keep its users relatively safe online.
PayPal’s website is secure and encrypted.1 As long as you have a secure connection to the legitimate PayPal site, any information you exchange is hidden from prying eyes. PayPal uses industry-standard security features that you’d expect from any large financial institution, and the company even offers financial rewards to “white hat” hackers who discover vulnerabilities.2
Using PayPal may be even safer than giving your credit card number or bank account information directly to the website you’re buying from. That's because your information is being kept in one place—at PayPal—instead of being shared everywhere you shop. If something happens, you won’t need to cancel your cards and update all of your automatic billers. You can just secure your PayPal account by changing your password or card number.
Tips for Safe Buying
Take precautions to ensure that your personal and financial information stays safe.
- Keep software up-to-date on your computer or mobile device—especially security software.3
- Avoid public Wi-Fi for financial transactions, including managing or even viewing your PayPal account. Use mobile data instead if you’re out and about.4
- Use a credit card as your funding method instead of a debit card or direct bank transfer, since, unlike a debit card, a credit card does not have an available cash balance that you can access.
- Use a dedicated computer for financial transactions if you want to be especially safe. Don’t use that device for surfing and social media.5
- Be wary of links in emails. Phishing scams may feature messages that appear to come from PayPal but really link to impostor sites that steal your account information