PayPal not as safe as everyone thinks?

PayPal Discloses High Rate Of Chargebacks
The Banking Channel

Oct 03 2001 : PayPal's move to file for an IPO at
this time, has mystified analysts, but may be
related to its USD 8.9 million in chargebacks from
unauthorized credit card use in 2000, which led to
a fine from MasterCard. In its filing, PayPal states
that its liability for chargebacks from fraudulent
transactions could cost it the right to accept
credit card payments, which comprised 50.5 per
cent of its business in the quarter to June 30.
Since the firm has enough funds to remain in
business for two years without new funding,
Avivah Litan, of Gartner, notes, "they have cash,
so this doesn't compute. This is the worst
possible time for an IPO".

Apart from the risk of online fraud, PayPal faces
competition from Citigroup, which is co-marketing
its C2it service with AOL Time Warner and
Microsoft, and can quickly gain substantial
market share. IDC analyst, Ian Rubin, expects
further competition to emerge, as "eventually
some of the incumbents like American Express,
Visa and MasterCard will either create their own
products, or evolve their credit cards to do
something that will compete head-to-head with
PayPal". Rubin also notes, "P2P online payments
are kind of in vogue right now, but I don't see them
necessarily having a long shelf life".

PayPal's filing also indicates that its undefined
status under state, federal and global financial
regulations, especially in light of US, and
international, regulation of Internet transactions,
could lead to penalties. For this reason, Litan
questions PayPal's filing for an IPO, since "they're
not likely to raise very much money, and now they
subject themselves to public reporting and the
whole overhead of being a public company".
PayPal itself refused to comment on the filing,
due to being in an official "quiet period" with the
SEC, but is known to have had USD 134.6 million
of cash and short-term securities, at June 30,


Not surprised. I am technically a "Verified Premier Member" or whatever it is called. The bank account I used to get this status was closed two years ago, and since then that bank has been bought out and no longer exists. That account is still shown in my PayPal account as my verified account. I have never given them another one.

I also moved over a year ago. They have my new address (unverified), but my old address is still in their system as my verified address, which gives me the Premier status.

The credit card number I gave them back then is also gone. It is still shown in my account as a card I can use for purchases.

Sugar, thanks for the warning. Sounds like you've been planning this out quite well and are just waiting for the right unsuspecting victim to trounce on.... : ) Sean
Thanks for the vote of confidence Sean !#$%*!! I do not have any balance in there anymore. I took it out before they go bust and I lose it. Is PayPal legally a bank (ie, FDIC insurance)??
Hello. From what I have read (Wired Magazine, etc.), Paypal is not a Bank and could not withstand the scrutiny that such a status might entail. They do offer protection / insurance through Travelers. I've never had any problems with them myself. This Wired Magazine article might tell the story a little better:

In all fairness, all those returns that may lose them their credit card affiliation are due to people NOT being ripped off. So that while they certainly need to crack down on fraud, they not the users seem to be the ones suffering.

I had a theft from my Paypal account about a year ago. It took three months of having my money locked up to get it released and have the theft of $900 returned by Paypal. In the end it was only agravation. The insurance portion was never kicked in, although I made an FBI and local police report. Travelers did not respond. Paypal ultimately paid me back and stated it was a "disputed transaction". No, actually it was an outright theft.

I too am concerned about their position that they are not a bank and not subject to banking regulations and obligations. I have been thinking of moving a fair amount of cash to my Paypal account and using the debit card in lieu of my credit cards. I figured out that with the 1.5% refund I can get about 27% on the cash necessary to fund my monthly credit card payments.

Thanks for everyones' thoughts. I really don't need the 27%. Once again I'm reminded that it's better to have an empty house than a bad tenant!

Bill E.
You guys are scaring me. I use pay-pal all the time, no problems to date. Sugarbrie your not bidding at any of my auctions right now are you? (just kidding) If you do win one of my pieces I will except USPS money order as payment :~)
I find it scary too. They have no follow up on what is in their accounts. I did nothing weird to get such a messed up account. I only moved and changed banks.
I had a Paypal account that was ripped off. I made the account and never used it once. Then a ~$500 debit came up on my account. It took forever to get through to Paypal and when I finally did they told me someone had hacked their database and stolen my number and used it to distribute money into another account. Paypal refused to correct the situation and they told me to goto my bank since it was a fradulent charge made by someone else. Only after hounding them for about two months would they fix the situation. No one at Paypal seemed to know what was going on. I dealt with many different people who apparently didn't keep track of what was going on through a computer since i had to explain my situation almost everytime I called them.
Now everyone should now why so many internet companies went under. A lot of them are just in it for a quick buck and don't have a good foundation. If you've had problems with them, let the SEC know. There is a big review phase before they can go IPO.
Well at least there is still the money order option, When that goes to hell we will all be sitting around for weeks waiting for personnal checks to clear. Thanks everyone for pointing out the pitfalls of pay-pal. (Say that three times fast). Funny thing I'm in the middle of a pay-pal deal right now at e-bay, I'll keep my fingers crossed on that one. Guess how much UPS wants to mail a 10 pound package to Indonesia?
I have used PayPal tons of times but ONLY with people that I am quite sure of. It is convienent way of exchanging money but ONLY after I have done my homework and I am willing to do business with someone.

We own that - not PayPal. If we think that we just send money to anyone and PayPal will cover our rear ends, we are not using it correctly.

This has been covered in endless threads before - know who you are doing business with BEFORE you send the money. If you can't get a good read, then bail on the deal. Pay attention to your feelings- your intuitions.
Angela, you have a BIG advantage in one specific area over most of us. You have WOMENS intuition whereas the rest of us are "thick headed" males ..... : ) Sean
eBay has there own system, Billpoint. Seems to work well and eBay monitors their members pretty good. I have read that some big banks like Citibank are looking at getting into this business. That should be more secure (I hope).
hey, Sean - you guys KNOW when a deal feels wierd - we all do, but sometimes our hurry to sell or greed or whatever... clouds that.
and hey, Sugar Britches - I like to say that ;~}
Personally, I don't think that "security" will be improved just because bigger banks get in the game. The fine print will be smaller and more legal hoops to jump through. I see the bureaucracy of bigger banks being more of a pain in da keester than now. Just my opinion - who really knows?
Buyer beware still seems to be the words to heed.
cheers, AJ
Amazing. I went back to PayPal and they finally recognize that my old bank account is closed. It was not my main bank account at the time anyway. Would never post that on any website. It only had $100 in it at the time. I first told them I closed it about one year ago. Guess I could maybe verify my new address and use it for credit card purchases only. We should get VISA's fraud protection even if PayPal fails. If you notify VISA or Mastercard of a bad charge on your bill within 60 days, they will revove it usually.
I bought an inexpensive interconnect, and paid with paypal. Never received the cable, and all paypal did was send an email saying the seller was at fault. My money was gone and there was no way for them to get it back.Thanks for using paypal.
Itsalldark, I had the EXACT same experience. Some jerk in New Jersey just plain ripped me off, lost $100. He was advertising on AudioWeb and AudioShopper.