Saturday, October 8, 2011

PayPal Problems

I used to think that the only people having issues with PayPal were on the fringe of the electronic payments world.  The guy selling videos from Russia or the shop selling certain kinds of paraphernalia--those would be suspect.

I never thought the bureaucratic and arbitrary axe of PayPal's policies would be brought to bear against me.

First a little about me:  I am a consumer.  I buy stuff in small quantities.  I bring the money to the web and eBay (the parent company of PayPal) to the marketplace which enables me to transact with sellers who, in turn, pay eBay and PayPal a fee.  Those fees result in income to eBay/PayPal.  Without me, there is no transaction, there are no fees, there is no income to eBay/PayPal.

So why would PayPal try to throttle my ability to purchase items, or "send?"  They claim they just want my bank account info to "verify" my account.  Kind of strange since my account has been open since 2002 and I have sent ~$4k.  If there was a time to verify me further, it would have been before I created $4k worth of exposure to eBay/PayPal.

Also, as the image above illustrates, I supposedly am not at my sending limit, but each time I try to make a transaction am I told I must "verify."  PayPal customer service, located offshore, could not explain this to me.

This is not about security, it's about access to bank accounts.  Access I will never give because I am not stupid.  I use my bank account to pay my bills; my mortgage, my utilities, buy groceries, etc...  If a fraudulent transaction would hit my bank account, my ability to pay my bills would be compromised.  With a bank account, I don't have the consumer protections I have with my credit card account.  Everyone should know this--eBay/PayPal knows this.  A fraudulent transaction would put me at the complete mercy of PayPal's policies.  A quick Google search reveals how that can go wrong.

It's clear, access to user's bank accounts is part of the PayPal business model, likely to reduce credit card vendor fees while charging the same fees to recipients.  PayPal obviously doesn't care about the increased risk they are passing onto their users, risk that is magnified by using offshore resources.

The marketplace needs a PayPal alternative or credit card vendors need to make it easier and cheaper to get directly on their payment systems.

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