June 6, 2005 9:38 AM   Subscribe

Increasingly many e-commerce sites and ebay vendors seem to be using paypal as the outfit that also handles their ordinary credit-card (i.e. non-paypal-account) purchases. This doesn't work, and blows the transaction. How can I evade this yet-another-paypal-gotcha?

The circumstances under which it doesn't work: I have exactly one piece of plastic, a debit card. It's the card I used to open my paypal account. Now when I try to purchase something by debit card from a site using paypal as their transaction service provider, paypal always tells me "that card number is registered to a paypal account. Enter a different card number." In short, if paypal is handling the site's credit/debit card transactions, it's only going to let me do the transaction as a paypal payment. And since I don't keep any significant money in my paypal account, that involves doing a money transfer into the paypal account and waiting three days while this happens, which adds inconvenience to the annoyance of being strong-armed by paypal in the first place. I won't cooperate, and this has blown several purchases from several different vendors.

Is there a magic button I'm missing somewhere here? Some way to tell paypal "Dammit I DON'T WANT to pay using paypal, I want to pay with my debit card, you're apparently taking a fee from the vendor to provide debit/credit card servicing, do your bloody job already"?
posted by jfuller to Shopping (25 answers total)
It's worse when they don't even mention all their credit card transactions are through PayPal.

I had a video sale I've given up on from an eBay vendor. I opened up a paypal account for my credit card about 7 years ago (or whenever PayPal was fresh). I never verified my account because I am *NOT* going to give PayPal access to my bank account. And no, I wouldn't give any other vendor access to my bank either.

So, of course, I've used up my limit which means I can never use PayPal again (it never resets... what a stupid company!)

I'd say if there's enough people like us (there seems to be) perhaps we'll find the market correcting itself and PayPal becoming less popular. Otherwise, if you're desperate to buy, use a money order instead. Sadly, it means the vendor has to do a hell of a lot more footwork for being so stupid. They deserve it -- maybe on their drive to the post office they can figure out why people are still using the money orders.

If such a button exists, our webmaster couldn't find it either. :-S
posted by shepd at 10:01 AM on June 6, 2005

Well, I would suggest you decide which is the more important, and, if it's the credit card transactions, delete your paypal account. (I dislike paypal quite a bit, and would suggest that anyway.)
posted by wzcx at 10:05 AM on June 6, 2005

Eh? Just click "more funding options" and pick your debit card, no? Or does this option not show up?
posted by kindall at 10:27 AM on June 6, 2005

I don't understand the reasoning behind not wanting to do a PayPal payment with your debit card. Or is it that you are not aware that you can use your debit card for all your PayPal transactions?

When you make a purchase through PayPal they give you a screen that details the transaction information including where your funds would be taken from, and a backup source. Below this section is the button "more funding options" as kindall has suggested. Click on that and change it from your bank account to your debit card. They'll ask you to confirm, and once you do it will go through your debit card. You'll have to change the funding option every time to have it go through your debit card, but that is always an option.

Or is it that you don't want to use PayPal at all? If so, contact the seller and they may be able to work something out for you.
posted by scazza at 11:59 AM on June 6, 2005

What kindall said.

Can you give us an example of a site you've run into this problem?
posted by cillit bang at 12:03 PM on June 6, 2005

I "third" kindall's comment. We've used PayPal for years for both sending and receiving (some quite large) CC payments, and all is well.
posted by Merdryn at 12:30 PM on June 6, 2005

Also confused: I have a PayPal account, but when I use my credit card to buy something from a vendor that is using PayPal for credit card transactions, I don't use my PayPal account.
posted by mendel at 12:32 PM on June 6, 2005

For my ebay sales, I will accomodate non-PayPal people provided they pay a $5 surcharge and pay me in cash via overnight mail. Paypal has made it very easy for the average joe to set up a system for sales without the hassle of setting up a credit/debit card system nor the risk of checks bouncing. Any loss of business is more than made up by avoiding those bigger headaches.
posted by mischief at 12:37 PM on June 6, 2005

As kindall mentioned, you don't need to have money in your paypal account to pay through paypal. If your debit card is linked to your paypal account (which it obviously is), you'll get a screen that says something to the effect of:

Purchase amount $999.00
Paypal Balance: $0.00
Backup Fund Source: $999.00

If you *have* money in your paypal account, you can apply some/all of it to the purchase, and the screen would look like this:

Purchase amount $999.00
Paypal Balance: $100.00
Backup Fund Source: $899.00

But since you do not, your payment amount will simply pull from your backup source (your debit/checking account).
posted by Hankins at 12:56 PM on June 6, 2005

The only two choices I see after clicking on the "more funding options" are PayPalBalance and an e-check drawn on my approved bank. No credit or debit card payment offered. Perhaps other people's logins get them different options on that page, but why should this be so?

That e-check choice does solve my immediate problem, and thanks very much to those who pointed out the fine print I had overlooked. But it still seems to me that, if paypal is collecting a fee from vendors to process their card transactions, there should be a way for paypal account holders to pay by card. If there is such a way I still haven't found it.
posted by jfuller at 12:56 PM on June 6, 2005

It might be due to a difference in registration level? I've seen all the complaints about paypal, but I've used it for five years and haven't had a problem. I prefer to be able to use paypal to pay for something if the option is there, because then I don't have to go through the hassle of entering shipping info or reentering my card number.
posted by drezdn at 1:14 PM on June 6, 2005

PayPal handles debit cards? This is news to me!

I think those of you in the USA using PayPal for sales should possibly inquire about how much of a PITA PayPal is outside the USA. It took me many WEEKS just to get the letter (yes, this is how they authenticate now) to authenticate myself. Then they required a cheque and another 7 days to make a deposit to confirm my account (Yes, I did end up doing it... I hate them still and don't do business with PayPal companies unless I'm desparate. I'm not desparate for movies.)

I can assure you, it is an *incredibly* poorly thought out system for non-Americans. It is easier to deal with my own government to get things done than it is to deal with PayPal. Actually, it's easier to deal with FOREIGN governments than PayPal.

And it would amaze me how they would do debit transactions... up in the Great White North that requires a 4-6 digit pin code which is normally kept incredibly secure. There's no way interact would allow only 128-bit encryption on that.
posted by shepd at 2:11 PM on June 6, 2005

"it's easier to deal with FOREIGN governments than PayPal"

That's not so surprising considering that international banking laws are far from standardized.
posted by mischief at 2:55 PM on June 6, 2005

shepd, he's probably talking about a bank debit card that has a Visa or MasterCard logo on it, allowing it to be used like a normal credit card.
posted by zsazsa at 2:56 PM on June 6, 2005

My paypal balance is always kept at 0, and whenever I pay for something via paypal, they just take the exact amount out of my checking account and put it in my paypal account, and then put it in the payee's paypal account. It's virtually the same as having to put in the debit card info or pay by e-check.

Isn't this what you're trying to do? I'm confused.
posted by elisabeth r at 2:58 PM on June 6, 2005

Perhaps other people's logins get them different options on that page, but why should this be so?

Go to the cards section of your PayPal account and check the status of it. It may need to be verified or something.
posted by cillit bang at 5:24 PM on June 6, 2005

> I'm confused.

I was too. Kendall and others later, unconfused me by pointing out the "more funding options" link, which turned up the echeck option. The thing is, 1) I opened the paypal account particularly to get one thing for my daughter from an ebay seller who only accepted paypal. I wasn't ever going to darken paypal's door again. 2. then I started noticing that for some online vendors I had no choice but deal with paypal because they were the credit-card service provider. so 3) I started searching for some way to do the purchase without routing any money through paypal, and couldn't find a way. Whether the e-check I just authorized goes through paypal or direct to the vendor, I'll know as soon as the transaction hits my bank account and I see who the payee is. It better be Mangajin, not paypal.
posted by jfuller at 6:06 PM on June 6, 2005

And thanks very much, kendall and all.
posted by jfuller at 6:08 PM on June 6, 2005

mischief: I wouldn't be surprised if eBay's TOS disallowed the practice of charging more for certain payment methods. You might want to look into that.

shepd: American debit cards have more in common with credit cards than they do with their Canadian counterparts. They're accepted in many situations where Canadian ones are not (hotel reservations for example).
posted by ODiV at 7:31 PM on June 6, 2005

eBay TOS?! Like I care. ;-P
posted by mischief at 7:47 PM on June 6, 2005

mischief: If I bought something from you and then found out after I won the auction that if I didn't intend on using paypal I'd have to send you cash + $5, I'd certainly complain to eBay.

I'm just letting you know so you can prevent this from happening.
posted by ODiV at 9:48 PM on June 6, 2005

Thanks ODiV et al. I forgot all about the crazy wacky American steal-my-bank-money debit/credit card combos again. Stupid me... Then again I'd never get within a couple of barge poles range of one of those cards. I'm scared enough that MBNA made my CC ATM-able without asking.
posted by shepd at 10:45 PM on June 6, 2005

Ebay does not allow surcharges. Read here.

Sellers may not charge eBay buyers an additional fee for their use of ordinary forms of payment, including acceptance of checks, money orders, electronic transfers or credit cards. Such costs should be built into the price of the item.

I know this because I had to look it up to show to a seller who tried to get extra money out of me to cover the fees Paypal was charging him for the transaction.

Once I pulled the "gee, that's interesting.... because here it says...." thing on him, he backed down.

I guess in mischief's case it's up to the interpretation of whether overnighted cash is an "ordinary" form of payment or not.
posted by beth at 3:38 AM on June 7, 2005

> I forgot all about the crazy wacky American steal-my-bank-money
> debit/credit card combos again.

Yep, online outfits that do accept this sort of debit card typically don't even bother with a PIN number. If you know the card number you can make the purchase.

This thread has been scary to me for another reason. I had assumed, silly me, that the most I stood to lose for having a paypal account was whatever paypal balance I maintained. I now know (thank you hankins for being especially clear on this) that that's not true, somebody who guesses or phishes my paypal identity can buy stuff for whatever I've got in the underlying bank account. Overdraw it too, I'll bet. Paypal account gets closed right now today.
posted by jfuller at 4:23 AM on June 7, 2005

You don't have to have a paypal account to use a merchant site that accepts credit cards through paypal. If you have one, it saves you having to enter all that info, but if the merchant has set up the cart correctly, you should just be able to enter your payment and shipping info, hit enter and the transaction should be just the same as if the merchant were running their own backend processing.

I have a merchant site where I do my credit card processing through paypal. I use them because they're the only major processing company that doesn't require a big monthly fee and minimums and setup fees + transaction fees. They have a really reasonable percentage fee for each transaction, and that's all.

If any major bank offered a similar service, I would switch in a heartbeat, but as long as reputable processing companies have a multi hundred dollar set up, plus $30-120 monthly fees, plus a transaction fee that is sometimes triple what PayPal charges...I'm going to go with the solution that doesn't force me to raise prices.

For businesses like mine, that create most of our income locally through retailers, spas and other outlets, the web doesn't generate enough income for me to justify the fees of setting up my own credit card processing capabilities.
posted by dejah420 at 11:43 AM on June 7, 2005

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