The most popular payment provider in the world, PayPal is used for everything from online shopping to online gambling and everything in between. It doesn’t matter where you live or how old you are, you will have heard of PayPal before and there is also a good chance that you will have used it before.
The biggest markets for PayPal are the US and the UK, but this is far from the only place that PayPal is used, far from the only place where PayPal dominates the payment processing industry. In fact, in Australia it has been said that 25% of all residents have PayPal accounts, a number that is growing, and whilst they have yet to tap into the Chinese market, they have also spread throughout Asia.
But just how good is this payment processor? How does it match-up to other providers on the market?
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The main benefit of using PayPal is that it is very compatible. It is used on most sites and is available in most countries. You can also change your account to any language and to any currency. You can use it on a mobile, you can use it to send and receive money from friends, you can use it to gamble and you can use it to shop. The fact that one account can do so much is great for gamblers like us. It means that 1 big win and 1 quick transfer to PayPal will be enough for us to inject some credit into all of the sports books, casinos and poker sites we use, whilst also allowing us to go on a personal shopping spree, to splurge on Christmas presents for the family and to withdraw a little into whatever account we choose.
This compatibility and accessibility is brilliant, and unique. Yes, Skrill is available on more gambling sites, but when was the last time you saw an e-commerce site that accepted Skrill?
Paypal have the worst customer service in the world, and if anyone tells you any different, they probably work for them. We once had a small issue that needed addressing. We tried to find Live Chat. We failed. We tried to find a working phone number and to get a response within the hour. We failed. We then decided to email them. 6 months down the line, we are still waiting for a reply.
If you do a quick google search you can find plenty of review sites that mentions this problem: https://www.trustpilot.com/review/www.paypal.com and http://www.consumeraffairs.com/online/paypal_02.html are two examples of horrible reviews of PayPal. Probably a bit exaggerated, but should tell you something with the sheer volume.
We have been “lucky” enough to receive replies to other issues in the past, and most of the time we wished we hadn’t. During one phone call we were asked for our name, which we had to spell out very slowly, despite this being a very common and simple name, and despite the operator speaking the same language. Before we got to the problem, we had to give our address, which also, for whatever reason, had to be spelled out. Half an hour later, whilst spelling out our email address, we gave up. This was followed by countless emails where we felt like we were talking to an automated software, and a broken one at that.
The chargeback issue is also a massive problem for people who receive money through PayPal. This is hard for PayPal to avoid, but at the same time they shouldn’t make it so easy for cheats to rip you off.
There was a time when, if you wanted to spend money online and you didn’t want to use a credit or debit card, you needed a PayPal account. This changed (thankfully) and other providers muscled in on PayPal’s turf. These days there is no shortage of options, including everything from Skrill and Neteller, to Ukash and more. There are global providers, as well as country-specific providers. PayPal were forced to get their act together to avoid falling behind, but they did just that.
We used to hate PayPal and groaned whenever we were forced to use it. Then PayPal stopped forcing customers to have accounts in order to make a payment, they updated their site and their software, they changed a few things and introduced some new features, and things looked a little better. We still harbor some resentment for this payment provider, but not as much as we used to, simply because it’s not as bad as it used to be.
PayPal is not without its problems, but as long as you don’t have to talk to their customer support, you should be fine. Sign up, use the service and cross your fingers that no problems arise. If they do and if you can’t access your account because of them, then save yourself some time — give up and sign-up to Skrill or Neteller instead. If you don’t, and if you try and persist, you’ll only end up an angrier, more stressed and possibly a little stupider for the experience.