We've given you an introduction to what PayPal is, outlined some safety tips for using PayPal, and told you about how much PayPal costs to use. Now, it's time for our verdict: is PayPal your new best friend for paying and sending money online, or is it a wolf in sheep's clothing? We'll weigh the pros and cons of PayPal, and then let you know.
Basic features are free -- You don't have to pay any money to sign up for a PayPal account, use PayPal as an online payment method, or transfer money to or from your PayPal balance.
Link your credit card, bank account, or both -- PayPal allows you to link your credit card(s) and/or bank account(s) to your PayPal account. So when you need to send money somewhere through PayPal, you get to decide where the money comes from!
Secure, private online transactions -- When you pay for something on a website like eBay.com or OverStock.com or send money somewhere using PayPal, it takes care of all of the upfront authorization. In short, you can use PayPal to move money around without having to input your credit card or bank account details into every single website that you deal with!
Seamlessly send money PayPal-to-PayPal -- If your friends or family members use PayPal, you can quickly send them money over PayPal. Choose how much to send, what currency to send it in, and which account it's coming from. It's just that easy!
Watch out for fees -- PayPal has numerous fees associated with using their services. Most of them are reserved for businesses that use PayPal to accept payments. However, some fees also apply to sending money from your credit or debit card, or sending money outside of North America. PayPal also charges fees for currency conversion. Make sure you know where your money's going and where it's coming from so that you don't get dinged.
Patience is a virtue -- Since PayPal has to make sure that its transactions are secure (they're dealing with money for many different people, after all), they often take a bit of time to process. Sometimes, they can take as short as 3 business days, while other times they can take much longer. Some users have also noticed that, at times, their actions on PayPal become restricted for no apparent reason other than vague security concerns. Remember that PayPal prioritizes keeping you safe over being speedy, so if something doesn't work out immediately, take a deep breath and try again later.
PayPal is one of the largest, most well-known, and most flexible online payment and money-transfer solutions. It supports multiple currencies, and allows you to use your credit card or bank account (or both) to send money where it needs to go. Its biggest strength, though, is how widespread its acceptance is, meaning that you can use it as a payment method when shopping in millions of stores online or in the real world.
PayPal stumbles in two key areas, though. It charges numerous fees on transactions, and while most only apply to businesses that accept PayPal, there are a few that you might get nicked with. Mainly, these will be if you are trying to convert currencies, or move money outside of North America and/or through your credit card. PayPal's other main weakness is that its emphasis on security means that transactions take a long time, and that sometimes your options and abilities on the website will be restricted for unclear reasons.
Overall, PayPal is a safe and convenient way to move money around online. You just need to plan ahead and be patient with it. Now, if you're ready to start using it, let's learn how to create a PayPal account!
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