The first online transaction was, by some reports, marijuana sold by Stanford students to MIT students via the Arpanet account at their artificial intelligence lab in 1972. However, the first online shopping transaction on the Internet took place some 22 years later. With the headline “The Internet is Open”, the August 12, 1994, issue of New York Times chronicled the sale between two friends of a Sting CD. The Times said, “The team of young cyberspace entrepreneurs celebrated what was apparently the first retail transaction on the Internet using a readily available version of powerful data encryption software designed to guarantee privacy.”
In Online transaction processing (OLTP), information systems typically facilitate and manage transaction-oriented applications.
The term "transaction" can have two different meanings, both of which might apply: in the realm of computers or database transaction it denotes an atomic change of state, whereas in the realm of business or finance, the term typically denotes an exchange of economic entities (as used by, e.g., transaction processing performance council may use transactions of the first type to record transactions of the second.
OLTP has also been used to refer to processing in which the system responds immediately to user requests. An automated teller machine (ATM) for a bank is an example of a commercial transaction processing application. Online transaction processing applications have high throughput and are insert- or update-intensive in database management. These applications are used concurrently by hundreds of users. The key goals of OLTP applications are availability, speed, concurrency and recoverability. Reduced paper trails and the faster, more accurate forecast for revenues and expenses are both examples of how OLTP makes things simpler for businesses. However, like many modern online information technology solutions, some systems require offline maintenance, which further affects the cost-benefit analysis of an online transaction processing system.