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Before answering this question, please assume it is a given that:

  1. I am using a virtual card number for purchases regardless of whether I go through PayPal or not.
  2. I already have a PayPal account; the question is only regarding whether or not to use it for eBay.
  3. The seller is not requiring me to have a PayPal account of any sort.
    (Otherwise the question is obviously pointless.)

Given these facts, is there any reason for me to go through PayPal?
Does it provide me with any actual benefits over just providing my virtual credit card number to eBay?

I've Googled this a lot, but the only "benefits" I can find are quite unsatisfying:

  1. PayPal is great and easy to use! (OK, but so is just putting in my credit card number...)
  2. PayPal provides you with buyer protection! (OK, but so does my card? What's the difference?)
  3. PayPal is sometimes required! (OK, but in that situation I obviously don't have a choice...)

On the other hand, I don't like that using PayPal gives the seller my email address, so that's one reason for me not to use PayPal -- sellers seem to abuse this information.

I've never really had to use PayPal's buyer protection to resolve disputes on eBay, though, so I'm not sure whether it's any different (e.g. easier or better coverage) than when using a credit card directly. (My credit cards are typical Mastercard/Visa cards with the typical protection benefits, nothing weird.)

  • PayPal gives the seller my email address I am not sure what is the problem here ? It isn't as if it is your telephone number so he(she) can call you at odd hours. – DumbCoder Nov 7 '16 at 13:15
  • @DumbCoder: Would love to argue about it but it'd be kind of off-topic. – Mehrdad Nov 7 '16 at 13:18
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    No need to argue, put down your concerns in your question. – DumbCoder Nov 7 '16 at 13:19
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    @DumbCoder: It's unnecessarily distracting and beside the point. The question stands the same either way; I'm asking for the benefits of PayPal. I'm not going to go on a tangent about the downsides. – Mehrdad Nov 7 '16 at 13:23
  • Releated, except you can probably skip the part about security, since you're using a virtual credit card: money.stackexchange.com/questions/67979/… – TTT Nov 7 '16 at 21:28
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As another answer said, you've pretty much answered your own question.

However, I would suggest using PayPal if it's not too much extra effort. Why? Two buyer protection schemes are better than one: your card company can't/won't help you for some reason? Take it to PayPal! (Obviously, you wouldn't claim from both at once, but having the second one there is a decent fallback).

As for the email address, if this concerns you, you could always set up a "junk address" and make this your primary PayPal account. Then use filters (such as those with Gmail) to forward only emails from paypal.com to your real address. That way you can ignore anything else that ends up going there.

  • "Two buyer protection schemes are better than one: your card company can't/won't help you for some reason?" Well that's my entire question: does PayPal's ever cover something that a typical credit card company won't? I've read examples of the opposite online, but not any examples of this, so I'm trying to figure out if this might actually be the case. Have you had such an experience before? All it would honestly take is for 1 person to say they've seen this happen, but out of the 2 answers here so far it hasn't happened yet. – Mehrdad Nov 8 '16 at 19:37
  • "but out of the 2 answers here so far it hasn't happened yet". Probably because that's not the question you asked ;) You might want to edit your question, or ask a new one, if this is really want you want to ask - don't make us guess! – Tim Malone Nov 8 '16 at 21:04
  • Huh? I did ask though. I literally asked "Does it provide me with any actual benefits over just providing my virtual credit card number to eBay?" If you know of something that a typical credit card would cover that PayPal wouldn't, that perfectly answers my question with a "yes". If you don't, but you know of other things that they have both generally covered, then that answers my question with a "no". If you don't know either, and you're just making guesses regarding both (which is what both answers are doing here) then you're not providing an answer, you're making a guess I can make myself. – Mehrdad Nov 8 '16 at 21:13
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    @Mehrdad Even if they cover exactly the same situations, it's like having two layers of protection. Try PP to resolve any issue, then if that doesn't work, use your card company. – Xalorous Nov 9 '16 at 20:20
  • @Mehrdad I'm not trying to be difficult, but my answer to the question "Does it provide me with any actual benefits over just providing my virtual credit card number to eBay?" is yes. If the question was "does PayPal cover something that a typical credit card company won't?", I wouldn't be posting an answer, because I have no idea. You're after a more specific response, not a broad response, so you need to ask the more specific question. I would tell you if I could.. but I don't know, because the answer to the broader question is all I've ever really cared to consider. – Tim Malone Nov 9 '16 at 21:23
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It seems to me you've already answered your own question! (grin)

If you can't find a compelling reason to use PayPal and you believe your credit card company does just as well as PayPal when it comes to buyer protection then it wouldn't appear you'd have any particular reason to choose PayPal over your virtual card number.

  • Well the thing is the premise doesn't hold. I haven't tried to test either of their buyer protections so I just don't know if they're really equivalent. It just seems to me that on the face of it they might be, but I'm hoping someone who has experience might know more. – Mehrdad Nov 6 '16 at 22:59
  • I've had very positive experiences with PayPal buyer protection, and as you said, it hasn't been any better than what my card issuer offers, so it's a wash to me. They were quick to respond and negotiated with the seller to resolve the issue, and that's all I can hope for. Still, Discover does the same, so there's no particular advantage in my eyes. I use PayPal when the seller requires it, but that's about it. – Daniel Anderson Nov 6 '16 at 23:01
  • Oh I see. Have you used your credit card's as well? Or just PayPal's? For example, I saw this which seemed to imply PayPal's might be worse, but I was worried it might be biased. – Mehrdad Nov 6 '16 at 23:12
  • As long as both protection schemes are without additional cost, no reason to not use both. Just use a junk address to set up the paypal account. Or modify your existing account to use that address instead. – Xalorous Nov 9 '16 at 20:21

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