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Paying by PayPal

This page is an informal guide to PayPal, what it is and how to use it, for those who've not done so before.

PayPal is a worldwide online payments system that supports online money transfers and serves as an electronic alternative to traditional paper methods like cheques and money orders. It is one of the largest online payment processors in the world.

What is PayPal?

Paypal allows customers and organisations to transact payments without the latter having to set up complex merchant accounts with a bank. For the customer the process is quick and secure. The receiving organisation does not have to deal with a customers credit card details, or put special high security measures in place necessary when dealing with customers and their money and payments. We transfer the entire process over to PayPal. Your security is enhanced by the fact that you're not passing any banking or credit or debit card details over to numerous, sometime small organisations. Such as us. You pass this information only to PayPal.

Why use PayPal?
PayPal has many advantages both for the payer and recipient of any transaction.

For the payer it allows on-line payment for goods or services with a greater degree of security than payment direct to the recipient. When paying this way PayPal acts as middleman in the transaction. You can use it for on-line purchase of goods, or services, on multiple site. The latter might include subscriptions or charity donations or a even payment to other individuals - a family member perhaps in an emergency.

When setting up a PayPal account, you can link it directly to your bank account or to a debit or credit card. You only need to do this once. The data is encrypted for extra protection against fraud and identity theft.

Do you have to have a PayPal account - to use PayPal?
No, but it is easier if you do. If you never purchase anything on-line, then you can use PayPal for infrequent payments such as we're asking for, by entering your bank, credit or debit card details with PayPal on a one off basis for that one payment. The receiving organisation does not get to see these details.

But it's easier if you set up an account. This can be done at any time, and once done does not have to be repeated. Once done any payment can be made by entering your email address, then a password. The details of your tranaction are then displayed on screen, and you can decide to pay or not as you choose. This is one of those times when a really strong password should be chosen. Select upper and lower case characters, numerals, and a few symbols. Check your password strength here.

What happens when I make a PayPal payment?
The web page or web site requesting payment will offer a PayPal button for you to click. The merchant sends the amount to PayPal when you click this link. When you do, you will be taken to PayPal's own web site. Check very carefully that you are indeed being sent to PayPal. How? Look at PayPal site URL address in the header address bar of your browser, or phone or tablet, and check that the end part of the address is paypal.co.uk.

So here are the main advantages of PayPal:

1. Credit card security
When you sign up for a PayPal account, you type in the credit cards and bank accounts you wish to use for purchases one time on the PayPal secure system. Once that is accomplished, you never again have to disclose your credit card information online. By paying with PayPal, you keep your credit card information private, meaning that you can shop without worrying about a hacker downloading your account data from your online merchant.

2. Flexibility
Relieve yourself of the embarrassment and hassle of trying to purchase goods and services online only to have your credit card declined. Because you can set up multiple bank accounts, debit cards, and credit cards to fund your PayPal account, you can rest assured that your PayPal purchases always go through the first time. PayPal will then look for funds from your sources based on the order you define.

3. Cost
One of the best reasons for using PayPal is its cost: free. That's right. No annual membership fees, no processing fees, no service charges. Shoppers using PayPal get all the powerful advantages associated with the service and do not have to pay anything for the service. So how does PayPal make a profit? When a customer makes a payment, the merchant receives this payment less a small percentage charge. In effect the merchant pays.

If you have never opened a PayPal account, go ahead and create one today.