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Warning PayPal echeques

When I first used PayPal, I had a card registered and nothing else. I then decided to become verified and registered my bank account.

From then on when making a payment, PayPal’s confirmation screen said that the funding source was my bank account, and that the BACKUP funding source was my card.

Note the word ‘backup’, suggesting to the user that this is only required if there is a problem with the primary source (bank account). This is further reinforced by the fact that the payment is always taken from the bank account by direct debit and never by card payment.

When I made a couple of payments recently, I noticed that the payment method stated ‘echeque’ from my bank account. I assumed that this was PayPal’s new term for a payment from my bank account. Not so! The echeque payment method incurs a 7-9 working day delay! At no stage was a warning given that this payment would not be instant. Additionally, the email receipt clearly states that a payment has been made to the recipient when this has clearly not yet happened.

I was only alerted to the delay when an ebay seller informed me that ebay was telling him he had been paid, but was not showing in his PayPal account. I then started investigating and discovered that my payments were showing as ‘uncleared’ and that the reason was that echeque is a different payment method which had been selected because my card (which I had been led to believe by PayPal was only for backup) had expired.

Since then I have discovered several websites who accept PayPal adding prominent warning messages about the delay involved with echeque payments. It is clear that they have experienced problems with their customers not being aware of the delays involved with echeque. This is hardly surprising – it is not in PayPal’s interest to warn you about the delay, because this means the money sits in their account earning interest.

A google search for ‘warning paypal echeque’ also yields several people unhappy with the lack of warning for echeques.

From a telephone call with PayPal customer services, it appears that the card details are not in fact a backup as implied by their web pages, but are necessary to make the payment instant.


Ebay now have this graphic on their site, encouraging you to use PayPal:

Misleading PayPal ad

In case you can’t see the animated gif, it says “cheque = 10-14 days, PayPal = Instant, Get Paid Instantly”
Not if the echeque method is used – this is extremely misleading.

  1. August 1st, 2007 at 17:56 | #1
    Using Opera Opera 9.22 on Mac OS Mac OS

    Hear Here!!

    I’ve just been hit with this one! caused all kinds of embarrassment!Paypal seem to be heading for British Bank sneerology!

  2. Kevin
    September 8th, 2007 at 04:08 | #2
    Using Internet Explorer Internet Explorer 7.0 on Windows Windows Vista

    Paypal is owned by Ebay hence the reason they promote it’s use. I had my paypal account verified also and I haven’t had any major problems.

    I’m still mad at them though for charging huge fees whenever I get sent a large chunk of money.

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