The Growth of PayPal in the UK

31st March 2021

PayPal is one of the UK’s most trusted electronic payment providers. PayPal has over 330 million active accounts, and 2019 stats showed that over 300,000 UK shoppers used PayPal brokers on a daily basis. Thanks to COVID-19 and a massive increase in online spending, PayPal experienced a huge spike in numbers. The company signed up over 70 million new customers in 2020 alone – an eyepopping 95% increase from 2019 and made over $5bn in net revenue. While it’s unlikely that PayPal will see similar figures in 2021, we do expect to see the company continue on its upward trajectory thanks to the introduction of cryptocurrency services, and BNPL products.

A Quick History

PayPal hit the market in 1999, but it wasn’t until eBay acquired PayPal in 2002 (a partnership that lasted until 2015) that people really began to take notice. The next few years marked a period of astronomical growth for PayPal, with many other merchants jumping aboard to offer PayPal as a payment gateway for online purchases. By 2007, thanks to a banking licence issued by the EU, PayPal had a user base of over 35 million – 15 million of which were UK-based customers. 2007 also saw PayPal make a deal with MasterCard that allowed MasterCard users to use the PayPal secure payment gateway to make an online purchase without the need for a PayPal account. From 2008 to 2018, PayPal continued to grow and improve its services – adding 25 currencies and thousands of merchants (including Amazon) within a wide range of industries.

PayPal and Online Casinos

The UK online casino industry is one example of an industry that benefits massively from being able to offer PayPal as a payment method. In order to retain a reputation for being an extremely trustworthy financial service, PayPal only work with the absolute best UK online casinos. PayPal casino operators are renowned for maintaining extremely high standards. When a player sees the PayPal logo, they can feel safe in the knowledge that they are playing at a site that is fully licenced and regulated by the UK Gambling Commission. Players also benefit from the fact that it is extremely easy to make both deposits and withdrawals using PayPal. Funds are available the instant the transaction has been verified, and unlike with other notable eWallets, PayPal users can still claim their welcome bonus with their first deposit.


Millions of eCommerce sites also reap the benefits of being partnered with PayPal. Statistics show that 85.7% of online shoppers use PayPal as their foremost payment method. Stats also show that PayPal acts as a beacon of trustworthiness for many small businesses – shoppers are 54% more likely to complete a purchase if an eCommerce site offers PayPal. Although there has been an influx of new electronic payment providers over the years, UK shoppers for the most part have remained loyal to PayPal.

The introduction of PayPal One Touch in 2015 certainly helped to facilitate PayPal’s continued growth within the UK market. The One Touch app allows users to make payments with just one click for as long as the user chooses to remain logged into their mobile account. One Touch saves the user precious time when making payments, but it also helps eCommerce sites by facilitating those all-important impulse buys.


PayPal’s next step towards further UK growth is their plan to launch the PayPal crypto wallet where users can hold, buy, and sell crypto products, such as Bitcoin. The crypto wallet has already been launched in the US and is set to hit UK shores in the coming months. At this early stage, PayPal’s crypto products will be fairly basic – with users able to pay with crypto and merchants receiving the equivalent in traditional fiat currency.

This move towards embracing cryptocurrency has raised a few eyebrows within the financial industry, especially following the fallout from the Libra fiasco. Libra, a cryptocurrency developed by Facebook, initially had PayPal’s backing. In fact, PayPal was a founding member of the project. However, following concerns related to money laundering, PayPal withdrew support and disassociated itself from Libra. Visa, MasterCard and eBay quickly followed suit.

PayPal’s crypto wallet will now focus on established cryptocurrencies, and in doing so hopes to be a guiding light within the industry. The value of cryptocurrency continues to fluctuate in such a way as to make it difficult for many everyday consumers to fully get on board. PayPal hopes that by backing crypto products, they will be able to help move cryptocurrency into a position where it can be used for payments in a more secure structure. It is still too soon to say whether the backing of a financial giant like PayPal will herald a new dawn for crypto, but it will be interesting to see how it all unfolds.