Here’s one the easiest ways of sending money to anyone in the world
Transferring money to anyone in the world by shooting off an e- mail? That’s just one of the things you can do with PayPal. No messy FDI clearances and other hassles: Having a PayPal account is almost like having a virtual international bank. You can send and receive money for free, pay for eBay items and even request money for an auction.
PayPal is the worldwide leader in online payments and you can choose to pay using your credit card, debit card or bank account. You can shop using your PayPal with thousands of merchants across the globe.
Currently it has 71 million accounts (ahead of American Express, which has 65 million) and is valid in 45 countries. It’s estimated that more than a third of America’s online shoppers have a PayPal account. Apple’s iTunes store and Napster’s music service both accept PayPal payments.
So how exactly does it work? You give details of your bank account or credit/debit card to PayPal, which first verifies it. After that you can e-mail a payment directly to an online shop or friend, which is immediately debited from your account into the other person’s PayPal account. Money can also be taken out using a cheque.
So what’s the big deal? Well for one, the time spent on an online transaction has been reduced to a great extent and has been made much much easier. Secondly, if you’re a regular online shopper, then you’ve to give out your bank or credit card details to multiple Websites all over, so greater the risk of your information falling into the wrong hands. Here you have to give details just to PayPal and no one else. This is also great news for anyone planning to start an online business. Plus you don’t have to worry about foreign currency conversions, PayPal automatically does it.
You can go in for a free personal account, which will allow transfer of money and online shopping. A premier account is good if you’re a regular buyer and seller. If you’re planning to go in for an online venture, then the business account is the best. You can also go in for the PayPal Buyer Credit, which is a credit card without the card! PayPal was acquired by eBay for about $1.5 billion in 2002. Today, it’s estimated that PayPal is worth more than $6 billion.
But PayPal accounts have been the biggest targets for phishers, who try to get information to siphon off the accounts. One phishing scam asked PayPal users for their password, e-mail and postal addresses, credit card and phone numbers, ATM code, social security number, birth date and even mother’s maiden name for an “alleged” update. The worst part was that many users gave so much sensitive information willingly without thinking why they should give so much for just an update. Also PayPal says that their e-mail are personally addressed to their customers, so a “Dear Paypal user” type of mail should arouse suspicion.
One against many: Frequent online shoppers have to give out sensitive information to many sites. With a PayPal account, you don’t have to give out any information for the transfer of money. All transfers take place by just sending an e-mail.
With a Paypal account you can…
• Send and receive money to anyone in 45 countries with just an e-mail for free.
• Shop on eBay and other shopping sites. Get a free virtual credit card.
• Buy songs from the iTunes store for your iPod.
• Buy and sell on the Internet under your own name for a small fee.
• Set up an online business with options to send e-mail invoices to your customers.
(This article appeared in Living Digital magazine in July 2005)