Pros:Free, open to anyone with e-mail. easy to use
Cons:Only accepts two credit cards, money transfer takes a long time
I read so many good things about PayPal here at Epinions that I filed it away as a "must visit" site. I had heard that PayPal made sending or receiving money to anyone fast and easy.
Recommend this product?
Not good for quick money transfers
Once in a while I have to send money to a friend and relative, and have used Western Union or American Express to do so. Both are expensive, however, charging somewhere between $15 and $22 for a fairly modest money transfer. Learning that PayPal is free, and that money can be sent to anyone with a e-mail address, I thought it would be a perfect money-sending solution.
But while I can see how PayPal would work well in a number of situations, it was no good for me.
Limited choice of credit cards
First of all, I went to the site and signed up. That was easy, and I was promised $5 for my trouble, which seemed like a very good deal. However, I had to click around a lot and go through a number of pages before I could find out what credit cards the site accepts. Turns out the choice is Visa or MasterCard. I don't have either. Still, I was anxious to give the site a try, so I called the spouse at work and we decided we would register him and his Visa when he got home.
Allow 3 to 14 days
In the meantime, I set about reading the fine print. In numerous places on the site, PayPal talks about how "fast" it delivers money. And yes, it does inform recipients of money waiting for them quickly. But getting the cash is not so quick. Money can be either deposited into a bank account, which takes three to five days, or it can be mailed in the form of a check, which takes one to two weeks. That seems like a pretty long float.
What PayPal is good for
In Epinions I have read, people have mentioned how great PayPal is for collecting money from a large group, maybe for money owed on a joint birthday present or for a group weekend trip. I guess I can see that. Many people with the right credit card might prefer charging a few bucks to sending a check. But what if people on the ski weekend list don't have a MasterCard or Visa?
The other popular use of PayPal, charging and receiving payment for goods bought or sold in Internet auctions, would appear to be the best use of this site, especially for those who are big into these auctions. It wouldn't be the fastest way to receive payment, but it would be an easy way to do so.
Never got out of the starting gate
As for our money sending operation, it came to naught when the spouse was unable to register. Since I had gone ahead and registered before finding out that my credit card was not accepted, and since we share an AOL account, he was unable to register. I guess PayPal thought we were the same person and declared his e-mail invalid.
By the way, in order to claim the $5 sign up bonus, it is necessary to register a Visa or MasterCard with the site. Since I don't have either, and have no desire to get one of these credit cards, I will not be getting the money. That is fair enough, because I will not be using the service.
Still would give it a try
Despite its less than lightening turnaround, however, I do think I would use PayPal if it accepted my credit card. The price is right: Free. In addition, the service is easy to use, and it is possible to send money to anyone with an e-mail address. And besides, I have read good things about PayPal on Epinions.
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