Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Paypal is perhaps the largest online payment processing service. With that size come issues and problems. Should you avoid Paypal because of them?
I wanted to buy you a latte, but it seems you only accept Paypal. I've seen warnings about Paypal - Paypal fraud, Paypal phishing and the like, so I've avoided Paypal completely. I don't want to get my Paypal account hacked.
Am I over reacting? Should I avoid Paypal?
Personally, I'm always a little mystified when I hear of folks who don't like Paypal, or who are afraid of it. You just have to treat it for what it is: another on-line banking service. Personally I find it fast, convenient and reliable.
Are there horror stories? Of course. But then, the same's true for whatever institution you keep your money in.
There are definitely some steps you can take to keep your Paypal account safe.
First, even though I said Paypal is "like" a bank, they are not, actually, a bank. As a result, they are not subject to some of the rules and regulations that banks are. Knowing that, I simply choose to not keep large amounts of money with Paypal.
The horror story that I hear the most frequently (important: I'm not saying I hear it often, just that of the infrequent stories I hear, it's the most common) is an account lock-out. If Paypal suddenly decides to restrict access to your account, (typically as part of some fraud investigation) just make sure that they're not holding a lot of your money while things get sorted out.
So, how do have a Paypal account, and keep it safe? Pretty much the same way you keep your bank account's on-line access safe.
Never click on a link in email that purports to be from Paypal. Never. If there's something that needs to be checked out, go to the Paypal site yourself by typing "paypal.com" in your browser's address bar, or clicking your own bookmark. Never click on an emailed link to Paypal. Got that?
Choose a good password for your Paypal account, and change it regularly.
Don't share your Paypal account information with anyone.
Make sure that the Paypal site is always accessed through an "https" connection, not just "http".
Check your Paypal account regularly. If there is unexpected activity, you'll want to catch it as soon as possible.
Most all of that is simply common sense, or "best practices" for accessing any account on line.
Now, do you use on-line services from your bank, brokerage house, credit card company, or other financial institution? In that list I just provided, replace the name "Paypal" with the name of the institution you use. That exact same list of precautions applies to any online banking service just as it does to Paypal.
So if you're OK with online banking, then there's no reason at all, in my opinion, to avoid Paypal. In fact, there's every reason to add it to your mix, as a fast and convenient way to make payments online.
Personally, I've used it for years. I actually have three accounts: personal, my wife's business, and my business. It's been particularly helpful with my wife's business as she's taken more internet sales.
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