PayPal Holdings, Inc. is an American company operating a worldwide online payments system that supports online money transfers and serves as an electronic alternative to traditional paper methods like checks and money orders. PayPal is one of the world's largest Internet payment companies. The company operates as a payment processor for online vendors, auction sites and other commercial users, for which it charges a fee. Established in 1998, PayPal had its initial public offering in 2002, and became a wholly owned subsidiary of eBay later that year. In 2014, eBay announced plans to spin-off PayPal into an independent company by mid-2015 and this was completed on July 18, 2015.