Has PayPal found a way to charge for "free" accounts?

I am a very small-time seller on Ebay and have used PayPal to receive payment on the few sales that I have made so far. My PayPal account is the ‘personal’ account – which I understand has no fees to receive payment. I have recieved about 5 payments this way, no fee, no problem.

However I just concluded two auctions this weekend, and received payments via PayPal. However, this time, both payments had a fee deducted, about 4%. And with the first of these I received an email from Paypal saying that I had received a credit card payment and that I would have to upgrade my account to Business to access the money (and pay about 4% in fees).

PayPal implies that these two buyers made their payment using the credit card option (rather than from their bank accounts). It seems odd to me that for the first 5 sales I had, there was no fee, and now for these two, apparently the buyers are using the credit card option.

Statistically I know it is possible, but I just wanted to check with Dopers whether they had any similar experiences. Is this just a ploy by PayPal to get people to upgrade to Business?

That’s consistent with my experience and understanding. On your 6th transaction you were given a choice between (A) upgrading your account to Premium to accept the credit card payment, thereby agreeing to pay a fee on all future PayPal transactions, or (B) reject the credit card payment and asking the buyer to use another method. Apparently you chose A and now you’re stuck with a Premium account.

Interesting. According to PayPal’s help section, it seems like you must accept both credit cards and online checks in order to display PayPal as an option on your auctions:

Strangely, they don’t tell you what you’re supposed to do if you only want to accept electronic checks. I would guess you’d have to manually describe it in your auction?

I have been having “Paypal trouble” lately, they can’t seem to hold on to my information and I’m rapidly approaching the end of my rope with them.
In the last month I have had to confirm my address and update both of my CC’s that are linked to my account (this is after several years with them) .
Tonight I get an e-mail from them that I need to update one of my CC’s and I lost it!, I sent them a “nastygram” stating that if the info they had was not good enough for them they could just close my account.
I will not jump through hoops for the privelege of giving them my money, I am actively looking for an alternative to Paypal now.

F**k 'em and the horse they rode in on.


Everything as stated may well be on the up and up because those options are valid. A big “however” for you though. In the past month or so I have been contacted by both eBay and PayPal requesting me to upgrade “information” to maintain my account because of various reasons, blah,blah.blah.
Both of these were spam(three, I think). Fortunately I have the option of previewing any of my mail before actually opening it.
They were pond scum looking for info they could use or cc#'s if people would give them out.
Be very, very careful, the mail looked quite official. These guys are good!

Scr4, can you elaborate a little? Are you saying that something officially changes after the 5th transaction? I don’t recall ever being given a choice. Have you seen this written formally somewhere? thanks

I think what he was saying was that your first 5 buyers chose to fund their Paypal payment via their checking accounts. Your sixth and seventh buyer just happened to use a credit card instead, leading to what happened.

It could’ve happened at any time; you were just lucky that your first 5 buyers didn’t use a CC.

Mm… sorry, I should’ve let him answer for himself. Dunno why I chimed in :smack:

So if there is no grand conspiracy and it is just a luck of the numbers, I am wondering what I should do. If I ask my buyers to use the banking option instead of the credit card, will they have any objection? It seems that the only people who will benefit from using the CCs are the CC companies and PayPal!

I only have an eBay feedback of 31, and that’s since 1999. But yet, I have the professional level PayPal account just so that I can accept credit cards the few times that I bother to sell stuff – hey, when selling a computer, people want the security of using a credit card. In any case, yeah, now for everything that you sell, you owe a commission to PayPal, whether it’s credit card or not. But as a small-timer, what’s a few percent?

Whenever I buy anything on eBay I insist on a credit card. Yeah, even when PayPal has me confirmed I will only use a credit card for eBay purchases. I can’t imagine I’m the only one in the world with this attitude. So you’re really limiting yourself by not accepting credit cards.

If you’re PayPal verified, they try to make using a credit card difficult. Every single time I try to buy something, I have to manually change my funding to credit card, and then go through confirmation (did you know you could use your bank account? are you sure you want to use a credit card? please use your bank account?). EFT’s are free, and credit cards cost money to PayPal, so I see their point.

Are you sure these are real emails from PayPal? I get several of these sorts of emails every day and they are spam…phishing spam…

Emails purporting to come from PayPal and requesting information about your bank or credit card information are scams from people trying to steal from you. I hope this type of thing isn’t what you’ve responded to, because that will snarl up your account even if the bad guys don’t actually get money.

I forward everything similar to PayPal’s security department and discard it.

If the real PayPal has real concern, it will show up when you ignore the proffered link and log into their site independently.

I speak as a seller of antiques, often rather expensive ones. The buyers want protection, and I’m happy to pay the fee so they feel comfortable buying. I have never had a problem with it.

Yeah, what oldbatoutahell said…

I get at least 4 or 5 of these a week, sometimes purporting to be from eBay, more often from Paypal. They also try big US Banks and S&L’s too…

unclviny, if you’ve clicked on links in those emails and sent you password, you should go to PayPal’s www site (Directly typing in the address to your browser), and change your password immediately.

No I haven’t been “phished”, the problems I’m having are with actual Paypal (but thanks for looking out for me).


I have finally bitten the bullet and upgraded my account to Premium. So Paypal gets another 3.4% for life…

But it seemed the right thing to do as I had two buyers who had sent cc payments in good faith and I didn’t want to jerk them around.

Balthisar makes a good point about the importance of buyer protection, and is something I need to consider when I decide whether or not to downgrade back to Personal and to add the restriction “no Paypal credit cards accepted”.

Any anecdotal evidence of potential buyers who have actually not bid on auctions with this no-cc restriction?

As long as I’m buying an inexpensive item from an individual, I don’t worry about paying directly out of my account.

If the seller presents himself as a business but stipulates no cc, FORGET IT! It’s a lie.

PayPal is good at flagging accounts that exceed what they think is reasonable personal use, and they can say “Upgrade or get closed” at the speed of an electron.

I think it’s totally a Paypal plot.
I sold an item last week for 200$. When I listed it, I was surprised to note the credit card icons next to the Paypal icon, as I didn’t recall selecting any such option. I thought it was a nifty added bonus… until the buyer paid with a CC and Paypal demanded that I either accept the payment and give them 3.x%, or reject it.

Personally, I think Paypal/Ebay is scummy for doing that. Bastards nickle and dime you with options just to list your item, then hit you with that by surprise.