PayPal is the leading alternative online to traditional payment methods. Instead of sending paper checks or using credit/debit cards, many people prefer to electronically transfer funds via PayPal for a wide variety of business transactions. PayPal users include online shoppers, e-commerce websites, online auctions and client-service providers like web designers, writers and other business professionals. Funds can be deducted from a bank account or a credit card.
Setting Up an Account
To get started with a PayPal account, visit the website (see Resources) and click the "Sign Up" button. PayPal is available in many different countries but you can only have one account per country and cannot combine accounts for different countries, so select the country in which you live and maintain your business. The set-up form will ask you a number of questions, including your street address, bank account information and other personal information. Answer everything truthfully as you will need to verify your account if you plan on using PayPal for business transactions. Many credit card companies use address verification when making a transaction and this is the information that PayPal will use in those circumstances. To verify your PayPal account, you will need to link it to your bank account and then follow the instructions provided. PayPal will make two small deposits into your account and you will need to log in and provide the exact amounts in order to prove that the account is yours.
Making a Payment
To make a payment to a company or person, you will need to log into your account and select "Make a Payment." Input the email address of the person you wish to pay, the amount you want to send them and the source of the funds (your credit card, linked bank account or your PayPal balance if you have one) and then hit "Send." Sometimes when shopping online a merchant will have a PayPal button already on their website. You just click that button and you will be directed to the PayPal site where you can log in and complete your transaction. Sending and receiving money through PayPal is usually nearly instantaneous.
Friends, family, clients and other parties can send you money simply by logging into PayPal and using the email address that you provided when you signed up for your account. The funds will be transferred to your PayPal account and you can access them by transferring them into your bank account or you can apply for a PayPal debit card that gives you access to your balance from any ATM or credit card machine. This is a great way to use your funds for shopping online securely when you don't want to use your regular credit cards or banking information.
Fees and Disputes
It is free to send and receive money in most cases when using your account balance or bank account from the PayPal website in the United States. Fees apply when using your credit or debit card or when you request money from someone using the website. These fees vary by the size of the transaction, and current rate information can be found on the website. You will also be charged if you are receiving money for goods or services. If you have a transaction dispute, either because you did not receive the product or service that you paid for or you feel that the charges are in error, you can alert PayPal through their Security Center or Help menu on the website. PayPal will investigate the claim and potentially refund your account while debiting the other party.
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