Friday, August 13, 2010

Paypal accounts: personal and otherwise

I don't like Paypal's sneaky business practices, but I do use it a lot. I've paid many folks now using Paypal personal accounts. Link to a checking or savings account. Don't link any credit cards and never accept a credit card payment. Do the minimum. If you accept a credit card payment or perhaps if you confirm your address, you get converted from a Paypal personal account to a premier or business account, whereby any funds you receive get hit with a 3% commission.

The thing I don't like about Paypal is how they hide this sort of information from you. Also, if you pay with Paypal rather than a credit card, you lose the edge in disputes. My credit card companies always take my side and have always refunded my money in full in disputes where I was clearly in the right. I used Paypal once, foolishly, to buy a camera on a fraudulent website. Paypal took weeks to investigate and would not refund $25 or so. One call to my credit card company took care of that. The credit card company told me that Paypal was a middleman and by using them, I gave up my right to use Amex/Visa directly to resolve disputes. Not a good thing.

But without Paypal, my small business would lose money accepting credit card payments. At least Paypal makes it easy for small businesses to accept credit card payments. But I'd like Paypal a lot more if their policies were much clearer, and they went to bat for folks using them as much as the credit card companies do.

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