Paypal – Friend or Foe?

If you’ve ever bought or sold anything on Ebay then you probably have a Paypal account.  Paypal provides the capability of sending payments to merchants and also allows people and businesses to accept payments from others.  I first signed up with Paypal when I started selling on Ebay.  This was quite a while ago, when you had multiple options for accepting payments from buyers, including checks and money order.  Now, Ebay requires sellers to offer at least one electronic payment or Internet merchant credit card option, which Paypal offers. Paypal is also owned by Ebay.

Paypal is great for a beginning seller because it’s easy to get set up.  If you are just using Paypal to buy items, then you only need to link a credit card to your Paypal account.  If you want to sell then you will need to link a bank account to your Paypal account.

Once you have a Paypal account what can you do with it?

  • Pay merchants that accept Paypal.   Paypal has my payment information so I don’t need to re-enter it on the merchant site.
  • Print shipping labels for items going through the USPS mail (non-Ebay shipments).  This is very useful when shipping gift packages or swapping items online.  I also use it to ship items I’ve sold from non-Ebay online stores, like Amazon.
  • Print shipping labels directly from Ebay and Paypal shipping is integrated into Ebay and so you don’t need to enter address information for you or the buyer, saving time.
  • Pay your Ebay fees without having to enter additional payment information into your Ebay seller account.
  • Accept payment for the sale of items on Ebay from buyers around the world.  Likewise, you can refund payment to buyers if you need to.  Seller payment using Paypal is integrated into Ebay making it easy for buyers to send payment to you.  This makes it easier for buyers around the world to buy from you.  I’ve accepted payment from Ebay users around the globe.
  • Accept money from anyone in the US. When my brother who lives out of state wanted to reimburse me for a gift I had bought for our parents, he sent me money using Paypal.
  • Send money to friends or family.  Likewise, I can send money to my brother as a gift.

I’ve used Paypal to accept payment for items I’ve sold on Craigslist, when the buyer wanted me to ship the item.  I also use it frequently to print shipping labels so I can put items in my mailbox, saving me a trip to the Post Office.

It is free to open a  Paypal account and print USPS shipping labels using Paypal’s Multi-order shipping and you may even qualify for discounted shipping rates.  You can also send money using your Paypal balance or a bank account to anyone in the US for free.

If however, you want to accept payment for sales, then you will need to pay fees for money you accept.   Typically Paypal charges a fee of $0.30 plus 1.9% – 2.9% of the amount received.  If you sell your items at low prices like I do these fees, along with the Ebay fees, can cut into your profit.  You can read more about Paypal’s fees here.  Keep these fees in mind when setting your selling price on Ebay.

Overall, the services Paypal offer outweigh the costs.  I frequently use my account to make purchases on Ebay and ship items that people have purchased from me.  If you don’t already have an account I suggest setting one up so you have it when you need it.


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