PayPal is a fast, safe way to send money, make an online payment, receive money or set up a merchant account. With over 150 million active registered accounts, PayPal helps people and businesses receive and make payments in more than 100 currencies in 203 markets.
Last updated March 16, 2016. Please visit the official site for the most up-to-date information.
PayPal is a pioneer in the digital payments age, one of the first companies to make it possible to send funds from one person or country to another without leaving one’s home. Founded in 1998, it’s become a staple payment method for thousands of eCommerce websites all over the world, catering to over 200 markets and 100 currencies. This arguably is PayPal’s main selling point, since most up-and-coming payments solutions are still typically exclusive to countries like USA, UK, and Australia.
Despite its age, PayPal remains to be a strong contender as a virtual payment solution. It recently got a fresh coat of paint and a complete UI redesign, with it a clean and modern look-and-feel when compared to the previous version.
The PayPal Summary page is the first thing to greet you when you log in. If you’ve been using your account for quite sometime, it displays a full list of completed transactions with their respective dates and amounts. The main menu sits at the top of the page where you can easily access other core features: Activity, Wallet, Send/Request Payments, notifications and account settings. On the left side of the screen is an overview of your PayPal balance, your list of banks and cards, and info links you may be interested in. Overall, the new site design has made everything more visible and accessible, even if you’ve just started using the platform.
Sending and receiving payments with PayPal remains consistent. You can send funds to another PayPal account, request payments from anyone with an email address (Paypal or non-PayPal account holder), and/or withdraw funds to a supported bank account. If you’re a seller using Paypal as a payments platform, you can create and manage your invoices as well. All transactions are covered by the PayPal Buyer and Seller Protection policy, which any user will need to read to get the full scoop on how PayPal operates and, more importantly, how the company settles the score when dealing with buyer/seller disputes.
Withdrawing funds to a bank account is a core PayPal feature. By default, your money stays in your PayPal account, but it's also possible to transfer PayPal funds into actual money in the bank. That's especially needful if you're running a business through PayPal. Withdrawal fees and delivery dates vary depending on the sender and receiver’s country of origin and bank.
Need to recheck or retrieve info about a previous transaction? The Activity page has been revamped to make retrieving activity history fast and easy. You can search for transactions dating 30-90 days or specific transactions (e.g. Payments received, refunds) by setting the proper filters. If you need a soft copy, simply click on Statements (underneath Simple and Detailed views) and click on Activity export to download a spreadsheet of transactions.
If there’s one thing PayPal is notorious for though, it’s security. Numerous cases of account hacking and loss of funds have prompted the company to increase its security measures, which can keep you from losing money but can also be a frustration. Frozen accounts are a PayPal user’s worst nightmare, and reaching out to customer support can sometimes take significant time and effort. For some, it’s inherent in a payments solutions company. For others, it’s a deal breaker and good reason to try a different service.
The best way to prevent such mishaps is to use strong account passwords and comply PayPal’s account verification process. An unverified account suffers from withdrawal limits wherein the service limits your ability to withdraw until you supply the requirements needed for verification. Verification, however, is a simple process so long as you have an active and funded credit or debit card to use. A fee of $1.95 (or its equivalent in your respective currency) is deducted from your card and refunded right once you’ve supplied the verification code associated with the charge.
Fees are PayPal’s main source of income. They apply to currency conversions for overseas payments (e.g. USD to AUD) and to sellers’ accounts for every sale made. It helps to have a copy of the fees table on hand, in case you need to know how much Paypal will be adding on top of your purchase.
Paypal’s long history and global reputation has made it a popular choice for a digital payment solution; whether it’s the right payments platform for you or not depends on your needs. At the very least, it's one of the simplest ways to send money to almost anywhere around the world.
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