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Pay Pal.  The online currency.

Which is a fallacy really, it's not the only choice - just like the dollar wasn't the only choice on earth.

PayPal has acquired a bad reputation recently.  There have been a number of frauds, which it has been seen as being slow to chase up.  It has had itself legally ruled as not being a bank, nor a currency - despite appearing as both to its customers.
I don't think it appears to be a bank to its customers; the terms and conditions require you to agree that it isn't one.  What I would like to know though is what the implications of this are - i.e. what rights you might be giving up.  Rjk
From the POV of the person recieving the money, PayPal looks like a bank - they collect the money from your customers, and then keep it in an account for you until you withdraw it.  However, due to a legal dodge PayPal basically had it ruled "If we lose the money whilst it's in your account, tough" - and of course without their co-operation there's no way to find out where it went or why.  So you have to withdraw frequently, so you cannot save up for the lower commision rates.  --Vitenka (It looks like a chequing account, it works like a checking acocunt - but actually it's a merchant transaction facility, a financial implement used by a corporation and thus not subject to regulations.  Or something.)
[Sample of their "if we lose the money" policy]. (MS)

PayPal does have a number of handy features - you can send money to any email address, even if that address doesn't have an account with them and they hold it until that address signs up to collect it.

The thing that made them really big, of course, was being bought by EBay.

Their fees are (for small transactions) 2.9% + 30 (dollar) cents - deducted from the amount being transferred.  (So the person getting the money pays it, and has to remember to include that in their markup)
In AlexChurchill's experience, the seller often won't bother with adding on the PayPal commission, in similar ways to the way companies offer discounts if you pay by DirectDebit?.  I guess it's so convenient for them that they'll happily take the 3.something% hit.  If you just use PayPal as a buyer, it's easy to forget the commission, as it certainly doesn't come out of your account.  The effective result is that dollars are now just as easy for me to pay someone in as pounds, since I can PayPal from my (UKP) CreditCard? in USD, GBP, EUR or whatever, at non-awful conversion rates.  I've used it to buy a variety of things online, from MtG cards to books and eBay purchases, of values between 5 and 100.  I've never had a problem.

They also do currency conversion - at arbitary rates.  Very occasionally they set them hilariously wrong and you can make money on them, but usually they're average-but-not-good conversion rates.

Website is at  https://www.paypal.com .  They make a point of reminding you that *any* visit to their site that's remotely related to your personal account will always be via the secure HTTPS server, so check for that before typing in personal details etc.

If I want to sell stuff - what are my other choices?  --Vitenka
What sort of stuff do you want to sell? For an individual, there aren't AIUI many viable alternatives for online payment. As a business, you can talk to your bank about getting a [merchant account], or there's [Google Checkout], Protx, Nochex, Worldpay, Paypoint.net... - MoonShadow

CategoryComputing, CategoryWeb, EconomicMatters?

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Last edited October 3, 2008 5:44 pm (viewing revision 11, which is the newest) (diff)