I am doing moving sale. A person who bought some of my stuff asked me if I have account with PayPal or Bank of America? I told him no, because I really don't.

  1. Later I tried to understand how PayPal works, and found this web page for their fees:

    Buying something

    Always free - PayPal is free whenever you use it to buy something or make a payment in the US. The seller pays us a small fee to securely handle your payment. As a buyer, you never pay a fee to use PayPal.

    Selling something

    Small Fee - PayPal fees mainly apply to sellers, who pay a 2.9% transaction fee on the total sale amount plus a $0.30 fee per transaction. There are some exceptions, listed below. If you have a business, see PayPal Merchant Fees for discounted rates and other pricing info.

    Transferring money

    Usually Free - Sending money to friends and family is free for you and the recipient when you fund the transfer with your bank account or PayPal balance. You can also use a debit or credit card or make an international transfer for a small fee.

    I wonder if payment to me for a moving sale can be done via "Transferring money" so that there will be no fee for me to receive the money in my PayPal account, and then to withdraw the money from my PayPal account to my bank account? Why?

    If not, which category would PayPal classify the payment into?

    How does PayPal know that the person who pays me is not my friend or in my family, and know that I am doing a moving sale?

    But another source at about.com says it is free for any transaction through a personal PayPal account (I think it means free for both payer and payee?):

    Choice 1: PayPal Personal Account

    This is the basic PayPal account that lets you pay for your eBay purchases with ease. You can use it to send and receive money. You can send funds to anyone with an email address in 55 countries and regions. Personal account will even let you accept payments should you sell something via eBay. The catch: you can only accept payments from other PayPal accounts, and you cannot accept credit or debit card payments.

    There is no fee for either the Personal account or the transactions you make through it. There is, however, a limit on how much can you receive per month. If you plan to sell a a high volume of product, the Personal account might be too restrictive.

  2. In the Bank of America account case, is it safe to give out my account number (if I have one) to that person just for him to pay me via online money transfer? From my previous question, the reply there doesn't think so. But why are there at least two different persons who want to pay me asking if I have a BOA account?


  • 1
    In marketing speak, any human you want to transfer money to is your friend in PayPal's eyes. Even if you hate the person, they can transfer you money.
    – MrChrister
    Sep 12, 2012 at 17:57

3 Answers 3


PayPal has a very generous buyer protection program. That means that the buyer can dispute receiving the goods and get their money back fairly easily (compared to credit cards). For this reason Craigslist and other sites recommend not accepting PayPal payments. I know that many transactions go through them flawlessly. But unless I really trust someone, PayPal would not be an option for me unless it was the money transfer (different rules; not as easy to get the money back). However this may be breaking PayPal Terms of Service so I would read them carefully before I went this route.

There have been reports of PayPal putting extended holds on funds and effectively seizing the money by refusing to release the funds. I have never had this happen (though I did have a sale on eBay reversed though the item was never returned) but there are many reports of it on the Internet.

As far as the BoA option I would contact them and see what they recommend. I would find out what their policies are on reversing the transfers and on providing your account number. They may have a special deposit-only account number you could provide the buyers. But I would want to learn as much about the system as I could before I started using it.

The Internet has turned the old adage of "buyer beware" into "seller beware". There are many schemes that con artists have come up with to defraud unsuspecting sellers. I received several offers from people wanting to pay me with a cashiers check for a few items I recently sold on Craigslist. It is scary how prevalent these fraudsters have become.

  • +1 very good points. Watch out with paypal and do research before using them as your payment option. I have an account myself, but it is a jungle out there!
    – MrChrister
    Sep 12, 2012 at 18:01

At every moving/yard/garage sale I have ever seen only cash is accepted.

While the use of electronic payments is growing the big problem is that it is hard to verify the exchange at the time the goods are changing hands. Unless you have a card reader attached to your phone, you can't use a credit or debit card. Unless you can verify that they did transfer the money electronically why would you let them walk away with your stuff?

If you knew them you could accept a check, but there are risks with the checks bouncing.

  • 1
    Cash only and all sales are final. I personal wouldn't do a yard sale where people can return items, nor accept a payment form where disputes are possible.
    – MrChrister
    Sep 12, 2012 at 17:56

I wouldn't trust "about.com"; they're based on grabbing content from other places and are entirely unreliable.

You can use the money transfer on PayPal, or transfer through a bank. I wouldn't give my bank account details to complete strangers, though. But that's me, with my distrust of the human kind.

  • Thanks! Do you mean that payment from moving sale can be seen as the third case "Transferring money", so paypal won't charge me a fee for receiving the money from payee's paypal account, and then won't charge me for withdrawing the money from my paypal acount to my bank account?
    – Tim
    Jul 30, 2012 at 2:39
  • I wonder how paypal knows if a payment I receive is because of "selling something", or because of "transferring money"? (The paypal customer service says payment received from my moving sale belongs to the "selling something" case, but I don't think they have any way to know it.)
    – Tim
    Jul 30, 2012 at 4:17
  • 1
    @Tim - If i do not know that my wallet was stolen does that mean that it is not theft? You are talking about using their service to sell something, but pretend it is a transfer. Basically defrauding the service provider. You need to read the TOS prior to doing this.
    – user4127
    Jul 30, 2012 at 14:23
  • >I wonder how paypal knows if a payment I receive is because of "selling something", or because of "transferring money"? If you entered a suffix of "Inc." or "LLP" (instead of the more common "Sr." or "Jr." or MD) when you created your Paypal personal account, do you think Paypal might begin to suspect that you have chosen to disguise a business account as a personal account? Jul 30, 2012 at 14:56

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