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E-commerce is the buying and selling of products through electronic services, especially over the Internet. Originally, “electronic commerce” was used to refer simply to the electronic facilitation of funds transfer, such as through an electronic funds transfer, which was introduced in the 1970s. Various methods and protocols at the time allowed businesses to send invoices, purchase orders, and similar documentation electronically. Dedicated electronic systems were soon introduced for airline and hotel reservations, car financing (systems used at dealerships), and business-to-business shopping and ordering.

The increased popularity of credit cards in the 1980s and the increased availability of the Internet in the 1990s—especially following the introduction of Web browsers—led to e-commerce as we know it today, which nearly always refers to shopping and purchasing conducted through the ...

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