Excerpted from this website:

There are two ways PayPal makes its money. The first way is the fees they charge to a payment’s recipient. Although most transactions are free, merchants pay a fee for each transaction.

I don't know wether this question fits here or not, but I can't understand the above article, in my understanding, merchants pay a transaction fee, how can it still say most transactions are free?

Or does it mean "Although most transactions are free, some merchants pay a fee for each transaction"? It's extremely confused to me, do "some merchants" = "merchants" automatically?

  • This article is not very well written, and contains several obvious omissions. I suspect that, in this case, it means that "most transactions" are between private individuals- for example, eBay purchases- and are free... however for transactions involving a merchant (a retail business), the merchant pays a fee.
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 9:03
  • 1
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it relates to a badly-written article about PayPal's finances, and is not about English Language.
    – JavaLatte
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 9:05

1 Answer 1


The implication that I think you have missed is that not all recipients of PayPal money (which is to say "transactions") are necessarily merchants, eg. from the excerpt one might presume that "wiring" money to a family member may not attract a fee (as the recipient is not a business nor is selling a good or service).

As per the comments, I agree this is less of an issue understanding the language used, than that the author was unclear (the author presumably intends "most" to refer to the kinds of reasons to transfer money using the service, of which paying a merchant is only one; but I suspect it is more likely to be read as describing the predominant transaction type/s which I think is presumed to involve paying merchants for goods and services).

  • Thanks for your answer, now after understanding, I think this paragraph is not that unclear, it was a semantics/comprehension problem I faced.
    – CYC
    Commented Nov 28, 2016 at 14:58

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