Friday, April 6, 2012

What Can I Use PayPal For?

What can I use PayPal for? Absolutely anything if you know what to do! That's what I told a friend who recently asked me when she found out that she must have an electronic payment option on the eBay auctions she intends to list. She didn't want to take PayPal because she was afraid the money would be "hard to get at". My friend was mistakenly under the impression that she would only be able to use the money online at places that accept PayPal. That's just not true.

So, what can you use PayPal for besides shopping online? If you don't want to use your PayPal funds to purchase goods on the web, you have two other options. You can withdraw funds to a bank account, or you can get the PayPal Mastercard debit card and have instant access to your money.

While it is true that withdrawing funds from a PayPal account can take anything from three to five days before the deposit actually makes it to your bank, using the debit card is a much simpler and faster way to "get at" the cash. You can use it immediately after receiving an instant payment for your eBay item.

You can use it like a credit card anywhere that Mastercard is accepted. Or you can use it as a debit card and get cash back at the grocery store. You can also use it at the ATM machine, but you'll incur a PayPal fee as well as an ATM fee, so I don't recommend this as a practice. Good to have in a pinch, though.

The PayPal Mastercard debit card is not a credit card, so it's pretty easy to get, and there is no credit check. There is no charge to get the card and, if you like, you can also order a card for another person, so he or she also has access to your funds. You can cancel the second card at any time.

PayPal also offers a student card for the teenagers in your household. The PayPal student debit card can only be opened by a parent, who can also monitor all activity on the account. Students can't spend more than what the parent puts into the account. I have no experience with this particular card so I can't vouch for it, but I will tell you that I love my PayPal Mastercard debit card.

Some words of caution though:

Be careful using the card at gas station pumps. Gas station pumps are typically designed so that they place an automatic hold on your card (this amount can be as much as 75.00), so if you charge 20.00 worth of gas, it could tie up an additional 55.00 in funds for several days. Or, if you don't have 75.00 in the account (even if you only want to make the 20.00 purchase that you do have funds for), the card will be declined. Both of these things can be avoided, however, by going inside and paying the cashier.

Another thing to be aware of when using this Mastercard debit card is that if you have it linked to your bank account, your bank account will work as an overdraft of sorts. However, instead of withdrawing whatever the difference is between the available amount on your card and the purchase price, it will bypass the card entirely and take the entire amount from your bank account, something you may not have intended.

All in all, the Paypal Mastercard debit thing is a great thing to have. Especially if you don't have a credit card.  You'll also get 1% cash back when you use it to charge purchases.

Because every little bit helps,

Carole Tee

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