Sent to you by Chris Hunter via Google Reader:
I have to admit that Paypal has become my own vehicle of choice for conducting business online. I started out years ago making most money online through selling antiques as an eBay Powerseller. It didn't take long after starting eBay that I realized just how much more money you can make when, as an eBay seller, you accept Paypal payments. A lot has changed at eBay through the years, but that one single fact has not.
Later, as I gravitated away from that Powerseller account and shifted to writing online articles for clients, Paypal became the most common vehicle that those clients preferred for sending in payments for that work. This makes Paypal the method of choice for running an online business. So, the flip logic is also true – Paypal is the vehicle of choice for paying for things online. It has been for a very long time.
However, what you may not realize is how much Paypal has grown, and how many new options are now available these days for paying for things with your Paypal account. The beauty of paying for anything with Paypal is that it offers a nice layer of security. You can link several different credit card accounts and your bank account to your Paypal account, so it's far less likely that your credit card information will be compromised, because you aren't directly submitting those card numbers to the online clients.
So, what payment options are now available through your Paypal account?
Set Up Your Paypal Account For Any Kind Of Payment
It has actually surprised me just how many places have started accepting Paypal payments. The school that our children attend now accept Paypal for the school lunch program. Public libraries will accept Paypal to pay late fees, and if you read Matt's news release last year, then you know that now more and more retailers are now accepting an exciting new form of in-store Paypal payments as well.
How does such an in-store system work? I'll get to that a bit later.
Making Mobile Paypal Payments
Mobile payments with Paypal isn't new, but the interface for the mobile Paypal app has changed quite a bit since Bakari first covered mobile Paypal back in 2011, but a quick view at today's version shows a simplified app with pretty much the same basic functionality that you'd find when you log into your Paypal account through the web. The main page features your current balance, and a quick look at the most recent transaction history.
To send anyone a Paypal payment instantly, you don't need to be anywhere near a computer. Just click on "Send", and type the email address, the amount you want to pay them, and an option message – just like when you pay using your regular online account.
The convenience of this can't be understated. Forget to send your landlord the monthly rent before heading out on your two-week vacation? Just open up this app and Paypal the rent from the next rest stop. Forget to pay the writers that you have writing at your blog? Pop open your mobile Paypal app and send off those payments in seconds.
Having no Internet at home is no longer an excuse for not sending a Paypal payment, so long as you have a working cellphone.
Paying With Your Credit Cards
When you pay for things with your Paypal account, it can be a pain to have to keep loading money from your bank account into your Paypal account to make sure you have enough to cover that eBay or other online purchase. Thankfully, you can now link up multiple credit card accounts to your Paypal account, and always have funds available through those credit cards.
To add a credit card, you just log into your Paypal account, click on the Profile menu option, and select "Update Card".
You can add a new credit card by just clicking on the "Add a Card" button, and fill out all of the card details required. Better yet, sign up for a Paypal Mastercard. You'll then have both a credit card and a Paypal account – making your Paypal account essentially an extension of that credit card.
What's the point of paying with a Paypal account when you could just buy things online with the credit card? It's a nice layer of safety. When you don't type your credit card information into an online form, that's one less place that your credit card number is stored. You've probably seen news stories revealing how Amazon or even banks had security flaws where thousands of credit card numbers were exposed due to hacking activity.
Well, if you send in a payment via Paypal, the only thing that can be compromised is your Paypal email address – but with that, no one can do anything. You always issue payments from within your account – Payments are never pulled from outside of your account, unless you've approved recurring payments.
Pay With Double-Security Using MoneyPak
Want an even greater level of security? If you've ever glanced at the gift-card rack in your local drug store or grocery store, then you've probably seen those "MoneyPak" gift credit cards. These are essentially pre-paid credit cards that you can use for just about anything that you'd normally use a credit card to pay for.
In your Paypal account, just click on Add Money, and you'll see the option to "Add Money from MoneyPak".
This will take you to a Green Dot branded MoneyPak page, where you can enter in the details of the MoneyPak card you purchased, and that will transfer money from that card to your Paypal account.
What's the benefit of doing this? Well, if you think about it, not everyone has good enough credit to even have a credit card – plenty of people have gone bankrupt these days and their credit is shot. Other people may have had their bank account frozen during an IRS audit, or believe it or not they may be one of those people that only deal in cash these days (they do exist).
Well, with a MoneyPak, you can convert that cash to a credit card, which you can use to fund your Paypal account, rather than funding it with a bank account or a credit card. It's just one more way that you can set up a Paypal account to pay for things.
Give Your Teen a Safe Way to Pay
Teaching your children how to responsibly handle money isn't always easy. Teens may make mistakes. They may overspend, or just not save enough for big purchases coming down the road. One great way to start training them to handle money is by creating a special Paypal account just for teens.
You do this by logging into your Paypal account, clicking "Products and Services" and then selecting "Send Money" and then "To Your Teen". You'll see the following form that you'll need to fill out.
What does this do for you? Well, it gives you an instant way to send your teen money – especially useful if a teen is traveling or away from home. Students will receive a student debit MasterCard that draws money straight from the Paypal account. The account gives parents visibility into spending patterns, a feature where parents can instantly turn off the ability for the teen to spend any more from the account, and the ability to send the teen alerts via email or text automatically if spending goes too high, or if the balance is too low.
Making In-Store Payments
One of the newest features is one that I've saved for last. I'm really excited about this one, which was actually first covered by Matt in May as a news update. Basically, Paypal has teamed up with Discover to offer in-store payments using nothing more than your Paypal account.
You heard me right. All you have to do is sign up to use "PayPal at the register", and you can receive a special Paypal Card that lets you make purchases at the register without having to use a credit card number. You just swipe the card and type in a PIN number.
Better yet, leave your cards and your mobile phone at home. At a growing number of retailers, all you need to do is select Paypal Payment at the register, and then just type the mobile phone number and PIN that you used to sign up for the service with Paypal. That, my friends, is called ultimate convenience. And with no card number to get stolen, it's the ultimate in security. The numbers are just all in your head.
As you can see, there's an ever-growing number of ways to buy things using Paypal. These are ways that are flexible enough so that people that prefer to use credit cards, mobile phones, cash, or none of the above, will have an option with Paypal.
Now, this is by no means a complete, glowing endorsement of Paypal. I don't like the fact that funds there aren't federally protected, and I don't like it that people I send money too have to pay a fee to receive that money. However, for the sheer conveniences that Paypal provides, I'm convinced that it's not only here to stay, but it's going to continue to grow and take over more and more of the online and offline retail payment industry.
So now it's your turn. Share your thoughts about whether you've found a nice system with Paypal for buying things, and what do you think about the future of Paypal as a payment system? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
The post How To Set Up a Paypal Account To Pay For Anything appeared first on MakeUseOf.