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So I have a Westpac bank card- no Visa or MasterCard. When wanting to setup a PayPal account to link with this account I understand that there will be no fees applied to me, the purchaser, for acquiring items. I've heard people claim they've been charged when purchasing items through PayPal, is this in any way possible? I mean, the Pay Pal webpage is cluttered with "free for buyers".

Secondly, I believe (and this is real entry level info), that PayPal assign you an account, and you transfer money into this account (I'd gather by using a description/payee that associates with your account), is this fundamentally how money is added onto your account?

Lastly, I do believe PayPal is "safer" and far more widely accepted then that of pre-pay MasterCard, but for users whom want to buy the odd item off e-bay, would you still recommend PayPal?

Overall I'd like to link/create a PayPal accout for basic purchases online, but don't want to be confronted with other fees.

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PayPal is free for buyers, taking their profit from the sellers -- in much the same way that credit cards take a percentage from the seller (though they will also charge you interest if you don't pay off the entire balance every month).

As far as I know, there's nothing that keeps a vendor from having a different price for PayPal customers than cash customers... but that would show up in the number displayed by PayPal before you authorize the purchase, so if you're paying attention it shouldn't be possible to sneak it by you.

PayPal has several modes of operation. I'm not aware of one where they hold your balance. Normally you either give them your credit card info, or you give them information about (one of your) bank account(s) and authorize them to do electronic funds transfer from and to that account on your behalf. I've always stuck with the credit card approach; I trust PayPal but I don't trust them that far, on principle. If I was going to link them to an account, it would be a small account I'd create for that purpose, NOT my main savings/checking accounts! (Hm. Actually, I do have one account which normally floats around $500 -- it's the one I dump accumulated pocket change into -- and I could use that. If I ever feel a need to do so.)

PayPal does reduce the risk of credit card numbers being abused, by reducing how many people you've given the number to. Depending on what kinds of purchases you make, that may be a security advantage. It certainly doesn't hurt. Personally I have no problem with giving my card number directly to a serious business, but on eBay or sites of that sort where I'm dealing with individuals who are complete strangers I do like the isolation that PayPal provides. In other words, eBay is exactly the environment where I DO use PayPal. After all, that's exactly what PayPal was created for.

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    You can definitely load balance on your paypal account, but they're notorious for being very hard to withdraw these balances. – littleadv Nov 14 '14 at 17:10
  • They also used to be notorious for having banks freeze the linked account while a dispute was in progress -- another reason not to give them an account you can't live without. – keshlam Nov 14 '14 at 17:43

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