Are you a PayPal user? A recent email from a flashPress reader contained some questions regarding how PayPal works, how safe it is, and ways in which online shoppers can consider using it, as well as what risks might be involved.
Valid questions. Although there are millions who use PayPal there are more millions who haven't yet tried it and maybe never will.
To keep this as short and helpful as possible, I'll paste the contents of the email below for you.
I thought it might be good to write to you about this problem. In a way I always think about you as the Ann Landers of computing questions. This one is quite personal, but I think it's interesting too.
A bunch of colleagues and I recently started a campaign to value our writing as an art form. Whenever we read or use photos from other sites we're having fun by showing our appreciation! We've done it in the simplest possible way, through the use of a "tip jar" or coffee cup on our sites. Trouble is, people seem scared to use them! They don't have PayPal accounts, and I guess they're afraid to link to a bank account. I don't blame them at all, with all the skulduggery you hear about on the Internet, but as you and I know, and obviously others who're gradually following our lead, PayPal is probably one of the very safest sites on the Internet.
Our tip jars may seem like a small gesture in the big scheme of things, but I would be very surprised if any professional writers out there didn't already have a PayPal account, because that's the way most of them are paid. Tip jars on a web site offer a way for their work to be appreciated much more than they will get paid by greedy content 'farms,' and not only that, but this is a way for people to participate in actually creating a whole new economy.
I thought it would be easy for colleagues and friends to join in the fun of the tip jars, but what I'm hearing from some is they want to tip us, but are too afraid their bank accounts will be compromised. This surprises me, as it's well known that PayPal is one of the safest sites you could ever visit.
Anyway dear femme, please could you please answer the following questions that people ask me, and I can't answer as well as you can:
Thanks for your help!
Canuck Not Sleeping
Dear Canuck Not Sleeping,
Ann Landers I'm not, but I don't mind at all to share what info I have from a long-time PayPal users perspective, and can hopefully help at least a little. Past that many of my kith, kin and colleagues are also PayPal users and they may lend a bit of info as well in the comments or via emails.
One of the first and most provacative things you mentioned is the very reason I began using PayPal. It's how I get paid for writing, for editing, for website building and web-mastering, as well as occasional consulting jobs.
Sometimes PayPal is the only payment option I have available to me. Other times, it's my personal and professionally preferred method of payment.
While I live in the Southern Indiana's rivers' land, many of my clients don't. If I had to wait for a check, I'd be waiting a longgggg time. Once I received it, I'd have to mail it to my bank, or drive 30+ miles to the city to make a deposit.
Instead, I use PayPal and get paid in seconds, literally and I don't have to travel or fill out paperwork to do it.
PayPal is far more secure than many other forms of electronic payment, such as direct use of a debit card or credit card between a buyer and seller. Unlike a paper check, it doesn't have the ability to bounce.
PayPal allows me to get paid in seconds. I don't have to give a client anything with my routing or account number on it. Only PayPal has access too that. So, while other folks are passing out their credit card at this shop and that shop, I have PayPal to protect my information and the businesses I make purchases from only have PayPal's info, not mine or my bank account.
My best description for PayPal is like a middle-man, armed guard between your bank account and the public.
I hope this info has been helpful.
There are many folks with warranted reasons for having a mistrust of banking and especially electronic banking. But, whether it's banking and in person transactions or electronic ones, there is always risk.
I was once with a friend who bought a cherry-lime-aid slushy at Sonic that cost him nearly $300 before they managed to wrangle the server who not only made the charge but was caught on camera spitting in his drink, who later tested positive for Hepatitis B. Thankfully he came out okay and got his money back but that was the entire transaction from using his bank issued debit/credit card to make a direct transaction to a business.
Even with cash, precious metals or stones, there are risks and always will be.
That's it for this one!
God bless you, thanks for the read and please don't forget to thank a veteran at your next opportunity!
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Thanks for sharing!
Good for what ails ya!
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