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I've been preaching this since forever.

Don't rely on PayPal. They're less professional than a kid selling juice next to the road.

There are no grace periods with PayPal to give you time to move to another service.

There is never more than a generic reason and stonewalling when they terminate you.

And yes, their decision is always final.

They'll happily terminate your only source of income on a friday afternoon, freeze your funds, then laugh at you as you scramble to get an alternative up and running.

Don't build on PayPal. It's no foundation at all.




> And yes, their decision is always final.

Perhaps their decision to close your account is always final, but don't lose all hope after having your funds frozen. I had 25-100k frozen (can't remember how much), and picked up the phone and called them and it was unfrozen within 48 hours.

Paypal is god-awful though and should be used as little as possible.


Why do we call it "frozen"? It sounds more like "stolen" to me.


Right, if someone says alright, put your money in this box. But then they take the box and close it and say no, you can't open it, Sorry. What does that sound more like? Frozen, or stolen?


Frozen, as long as they don't take the money either.


The already have the money. The notion that it's somehow "in your account" is just PayPal fiction - especially if they deny you access to "your account" indefinitely.

(Supposedly they don't operate fractional reserve, which means that Peter Thiel pinky-promises not to touch the principle. But it's still in PayPal commercial investment vehicles, earning away.)


Peter Thiel hasn't been CEO of PayPal for almost 20 years...


Which just goes to show how insanely difficult it is to find good pinky swear talent. It's like the voice-over of Silicon Valley.


But with PayPal, that’s not the case. Your “money” in your account at PayPal is just a number in a table. The actual money, however, is in PayPal’s bank account where it is earning PayPal interest and investment opportunities.


To be fair, anything other than M0 (physical cash) is just a number in a table. Banking regulations that ensure ease of access are the only reason other "numbers in tables" are considered part of the money supply.


You probably want it to be in a table that earns you interest, not PayPal, though.


I may be wrong like this, but I think only banks are allowed to earn interest on your cash, and Paypal isn't a bank.


The "money" in your Paypal account isn't "your cash". As you say, Paypal isn't a bank. Your Paypal balance is Paypal's cash, which it allows you to use for purchasing things with Paypal, or to transfer to your own bank account. But in the meantime, it's Paypal's money, which Paypal keeps in its own bank or investment vehicle, earning interest for Paypal.


So if a crook steals your money and buries it in the back yard instead of spending it it's not theft?


"...It's not about making money, it's about taking money. Destroying the status quo because the status is not quo."

-- Dr. Horrible


It was a bad analogy. A better one would be, you send a friend to pick up some money for you, and when the friend returns, they suddenly refuse to give you the money.


I would call that theft, no question.


PayPal are not your friend.


I can bet my absolute bottom dollar that the money is frozen, but they're still making interest on it.

Stolen is more appropriate here.


PayPal has no obligation to keep your money in a secure trust, so essentially your balance is just a recorded number. The actual money is being invested. They keep a small pool of money in reserve and in easily liquifiable investments to cover withdrawals of course.


Yes they do. They’re a licensed money transmitter.


PayPay calls it "frozen" because that is the term that actual regulated banks use when they temporarily deny access to an account because of a government order or a fraud investigation.

It is to PayPal's benefit to use terminology that makes them look like a bank.


There are lots of horror stories about Paypal, but there is an obvious problem, nobody is going out of their way to write a blog post about how Paypal always worked for them. You can find pretty much the same horror stories about any Bank or credit card company.


No, you cannot. Federal law sets out how all banking must be done. There is always reciprocity. Since PayPal isn't regulated as a bank there is no directly applicable federal law. Instead, it's regulated on a state-by-state basis and the majority of the time you'd be hard pressed to figure out exactly who within your state you would have to file a complaint with. PayPal wants it both ways. It wants to act like a bank when it's good for them, but avoid all of the regulations. It's the worst of both worlds for the customer.

Anecdotally speaking, I know multiple people that have had funds frozen by PayPal after months or years of use. I know exactly nobody that has had a bank account frozen.


I don't really believe this myself, but HN just loves it if you defend corporations doing evil shit. They are all gullible fools on here and I just had some fun manipulating them.

I too, wish governments would get their shit together and regulate them. The corrupt governments (especially US) of today wouldn't even regulate regular banks, quite the opposite.



Notice how almost all of those cite "suspected fraud"? The bank will always be paranoid about fraud and if you do anything to freak them out, you're done. They're worse than cats when it comes to flipping out and skittering away. In the cases where resolutions are cited the customer receives their money back. This is due to federal laws regarding banking.

Contrast this with PayPal who needs no reason to freeze your funds and will hold them as long as they damn well please please federal banking law (for the most part) does not apply to them.

This even though they're regulated as a bank nearly everywhere else in the world. But then again this is the US and when do we ever do anything that makes sense?


I used to sell some automotive accessories on eBay. Approx 20-30 items a month. Every time I had to call or email Paypal's customer service, I had a good experience. Much, MUCH better than dealing with eBay's. Even though the complaint review process didn't always go my way, it seemed thorough and fair.


> You can find pretty much the same horror stories about any Bank or credit card company.

I don't know if you can in the US, but not in my country. A bank working like paypal would be in trouble, and quickly. Closing accounts without prior notice? Deciding unilaterally to freeze assets? A bank can't do that unless ordered by a judge. If they would, they'll be on the receiving end of a court order and will get a call from the regulator's office that they really don't like to hear from.

Paypal is shady, and there's a reason they run their operation from Luxembourg, one of the top places to do shady financial business in Europe.


I don't know the exact law in the US, but it is similar.

A bank can freeze your account for suspected fraud, but they will try everything they can to contact you soon after to verify. They know that regulators will come after them if they don't have good customer service around this (plus good customer service can turn this into a customer loyalty win - customers like knowing their bank is watching out for them as long as there is only minor inconvenience).

Bank failure is sometimes a thing though. If the bank fails they probably don't have enough money to give everybody theirs back. You are insured for some amount ($250,000 last I checked) so the average person doesn't need to worry, but if you have more than that in your account you are out of luck. This would be once case where you can't access your money for a few weeks. You should have an emergency account with a second bank just in case - but this is a rare problem. This problem applies to all countries in some way, though the exact way it goes down can change.

I think every other case would be ordered by a judge. Real banks are regulated carefully. People have learned over the years of banking that they can be trouble if they are badly run and taken steps.


> I don't know if you can in the US, but not in my country. A bank working like paypal would be in trouble, and quickly. Closing accounts without prior notice? Deciding unilaterally to freeze assets? A bank can't do that unless ordered by a judge.

A bank would absolutely be expected to freeze an account if it suspected illegal activity as part of its AML obligations - filing a SAR would come later.

A judge wouldn't be involved until later on in the process to avoid tipping a potential criminal off and allowing them to move the money.

Neither should accounts like this necessarily be taken at face value - trying to apply social pressure through forums and social media is standard social engineering.


> A bank would absolutely be expected to freeze an account if it suspected illegal activity as part of its AML obligations - filing a SAR would come later.

And this would take months, and the bank wouldn't be able to respond to inquiries?

> Neither should accounts like this necessarily be taken at face value - trying to apply social pressure through forums and social media is standard social engineering.

Certainly. I tend to lean towards believing them because I've witnessed a similar case with PayPal that nearly ruined the company of a friend. It got resolved after all, but it took around eight months, lawyers and our local equivalent of a DA to get involved before PP realized they might not want to pursue it any further and released the assets. That doesn't mean that everyone of these stories is accurate, of course, but it indicates to me that not all is well in the PP HQ.


> And this would take months, and the bank wouldn't be able to respond to inquiries?

Yes. Legally they're not allowed to give any more information other than that the account has been frozen. Money launderers would be quite relaxed if they knew they just had to wait six months and they could take the money out.

> "Being concerned in arrangements which the defendant knows or suspects will facilitate money laundering is also an offence. To put it crudely, if Dave suspects that the money in John's account might be dirty then the Bank cannot allow John to move or access the money and he must file a report to the NCA." [2]

[2] https://www.brettwilson.co.uk/blog/frozen-bank-account-no-ex...

[Example from a bank:] https://www.ft.com/content/96840328-3b6b-11e9-b856-5404d3811...


Can you point me towards examples of a bank (not the government - a bank) confiscating a company’s account balance?


Early in LWN's history our credit card acquirer decided that our transactions were "suspicious". They not only cut us off...they reached into our bank account and pulled back $30,000 from there. That was a lot of money to us back then, and very nearly killed the entire operation.

Ironically, the thing that saved us was that the PayPal revenue stream still worked just fine.


were assets frozen? I didn't read that.


Quadriga


PayPal works for me, when Stripe wouldn't.


Can you call them for me? They still have $10k frozen and been so for the last 16 months


If it’s that much, I’d recommend a lawyer


I think you got really lucky. The majority of people would probably need to contact a lawyer.


  freeze your funds
This is the biggest reason I don't suggest Paypal to anyone. The fact that you can lose $5k+ because of someone on their end with no fraud issues and legitimate sales (which they can easily verify) is theft.


> Don't rely on PayPal.

Don't rely on any single point of failure. Don't kid yourself. No payment processor is your friend, and if you think that, you're a fool. Have multiple payment processors, and be prepared for bad things happening. The reasoning isn't as simple as PayPal or Stripe are out to get you. Rather, there are many banks and many laws, both in your home country and internationally that can affect your business. And in the end, they won't risk their business for you, no matter how fair or unfair it is.


Comment below states Niteo is a spam creator, so the block seems justified.

FWIW, PayPal has always worked for me and customer support gets the job done. Not sure what the problem is if your operation is legit.


Does that mean they aren't allowed to send and receive payments? Why is a middleman service in the business of determining that they shouldn't be allowed to send and receive money? Was Niteo misusing their service?


"Don't rely on PayPal. They're less professional than a kid selling juice next to the road."

I am constantly surprised that in this age businesses are still surprised by PayPal shenanigans. I remember coming to the same conclusion almost 18 years ago.


Also if you own a physical store, always make sure to accept cash also. Don't rely to card providers which also collect huge amount of data and have their own terms. Centralization and reliance on single entities are not good...


Agree with this 100%. It's nice for consumers who want to screw merchants (sure, I assume there are some legitimate charge backs as well), but for merchants it's hell on earth unless your business is a bit a of hobby thing and you don't care if you lose whatever is in PP + PP access itself overnight without any reason.


What alternative would you recommend? Specifically, I am interested in a method of paying independent contractors.


Bank wire transfers? That is how contractors are typically paid. I have never heard of anyone paid any other way here in Europe, and as a contractor myself wire transfers is the only form of payment I can accept. I guess in North America checks would work too.


In the US, a check is still pretty much the way to pay money to individuals. (Or cash for non-business person to person payments in person.)


Local bank transfer to Transferwise Borderless Accounts.


A bank?


IBAN, indeed. Bunq's fees (except for the monthly) are great.


That's crazytalk.


Yes, very interested as well, is Swipe any better? Or where do people go when both one off and subscription payments are required?


In fiction the concept of a big nightmare where some capricious AI making arbitrary decisions and imposing them on humans with no recourse or option to reason would now seem unnecessary.

Google, paypal, plenty of other companies are lead by humans who are willing to just do that to other humans as a matter of doing business.


Theres at least third party options that leverage paypal indirectly (and other services) 2checkout comes tk mind which is what I suggest if you like having the option of PayPal. I havent touched 2checkout in ages so no idea its state.

Also like they say... Dont put ALL your eggs into one basket!




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