I’ve been using PayPal since 2005, and their platform is essential to my online personal and business activities. Despite having 190+ million active customers, I meet many individuals who still don’t have an account.
What Is PayPal?
Founded in 1998, PayPal is a worldwide online payments system that supports payments, transfers, and other financial transactions. They enable digital and mobile payments on behalf of consumers and merchants across the world. PayPal allows businesses of all sizes to accept payments from merchant websites, mobile devices, and applications, and at offline retail locations through a range of payment solutions. Its combined payment ecosystem includes PayPal, PayPal Credit, Braintree, Venmo, and Xoom products and services.
With 192 million active customer accounts, they’ve created an open and secure payments network. PayPal is a truly global payments platform that is available in more than 202 countries, allowing customers to get paid in more than 100 currencies, withdraw funds to their bank accounts in 56 currencies, and hold balances in their PayPal accounts in 25 currencies.
PayPal Customer/Personal Account
PayPal allows its customers to use their accounts to make purchases and be paid for goods, as well as deposit, send, receive, and withdraw funds. An individual can finance a purchase using her bank account, PayPal account balance, a PayPal Credit account, credit, debit card or coupons and gift cards.
Six Benefits of Using PayPal
1) Your PayPal account is free.
While PayPal is not a bank, it resembles one in its features and services, but they don’t charge any monthly or annually account fees. Sweet!
2) Makes online shopping convenient, quick, and easy.
Many online retailers and e-commerce sites have a PayPal purchase option or button. Once you have a PayPal account and your bank accounts and credit cards are connected, you can check out with PayPal. Concerned about racking up reward points? No problem. You can still earn your credit card points, miles, and rewards when you pay with PayPal. Just link your reward-based credit card(s) to your account, and select it during the purchase process.
3) Send money locally for free.
Banks typically charge a small fee, e.g., interact fee, to send money to another person. When you send money locally, Canadian-to-Canadian, from your PayPal balance or linked bank account, it’s free. In general, PayPal doesn’t charge for transfers in the same currency. However, their currency conversion fees can be relatively high in which case I recommend using TransferWise to send money abroad.
To send money is easy and only requires the recipient’s email address or phone number to get started.
4) Request and receive money locally and abroad.
Just the same, you can request, receive, and create an invoice to collect money via an email address or phone number. I’ve been doing this for years and have found PayPal to be timely and stress-free. Also, their platform is extremely safe and secure.
PayPal.Me allows customers to create personalized links to share with others for the purposes of receiving money.
5) Hold multiple currencies.
One of the best features of PayPal is the ability to hold multiple currencies in your account. This benefit applies more so to businesses that conduct activities globally and in difference currencies. For example, a digital nomad or freelancer who attracts multiple streams of income from the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and France. With PayPal, she can hold all these currencies separate in her account.
6) Use PayPal for your online business.
A PayPal checkout option is standard in today’s e-commerce environment. If you operate an online business or require online payment functionality, PayPal will do the trick. For instance, I’ve enabled PayPal on my site for folks to purchase my online investing course.
On a side note, I’m glad PayPal separated from eBay a couple of years ago to operate independently. I’ve traded PYPL stock frequently, have been profitable, and believe they are a worthwhile long term investment (this is not investment advice, please do your research).