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How to use Paypal Safely

Paypal
(Image used under: Creative Commons 2.0 [SRC])

This isn't going to be an exhaustive write-up about Paypal and the various trouble you can get into with it. Instead, I'm going to talk about one very important part of the system that most people should know how to deal with.

Specifically, the direct bank access.

When you sign up for Paypal, they ask for your bank account information so they can make some test deposits. Once you see the deposits, you return to the system to tell them how much was sent to verify your account.

Here's the problem: if you do it, Paypal will then have full access to your bank account to pull funds if you were to say, go negative on your Paypal account or some Paypal employee decides they need a little of what you have or a hacker breaks through their world class security.

Instead, don't ever confirm the deposits. What this does is allow Paypal to continue making deposits (for when you get cash in Paypal), but they can't debit your account (so there!). Granted, doing this will limit the amount of money you can filter through paypal (like $500 a month or so), but so what? Most people never do transactions that large and worst-case, if you manage to get a single transaction over $500, just withdraw it over the course of a few months.

If that's not realistic for you, confirm the numbers, just make sure the account you're using is disposable.

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