In addition to the Personal, Premier and Business accounts, PayPal offers a Student account type with unique options suited to teens and young adults making their first financial decisions. A parent or guardian can open accounts for their kids ages 13 and up. Each account features a debit card for the student to make purchases anywhere MasterCard is accepted. PayPal also lets parents monitor the student's account, including receiving low balance and high spending alerts [source: PayPal].
PayPal Account Types
Earlier, we discovered that PayPal has three account types: Personal, Premier and Business. All these account types can use the following core PayPal functions:
- Sending money
- Requesting money
- Using auction tools
- Making payments from a Web site
- Debit card services
- Customer service
Besides these functions, the three accounts also share certain features and limitations. For example, if you have a verified account, you can send up to $10,000 in a single transaction, and there are generally no transaction fees for sending and receiving money between PayPal accounts. However, you'll pay a fee when using a PayPal debit card or receiving money for something that requires a currency exchange. Unverified accounts, including those without an associated bank account or credit card, have more restrictive sending and withdraw limits. You can determine the limits on your account by clicking a "view limits" link near the top of the page after you sign in to PayPal [source: PayPal].
The three PayPal account types differ in some important ways. First, Personal accounts give you access to the core features, but that's all. PayPal handles customer support for Personal accounts primarily by e-mail or through a virtual customer support agent at the PayPal Web site. There's a phone number available, but it's not toll-free and may have extensive wait times.
Premier and Business accounts are almost the same. The main difference is that a Business account must be registered with a business or group name, while a Premier account can be registered with a business, group or individual. Also, you can set up multiple users to access a business account.
In addition to PayPal's core functions, Business and Premier accounts provide these options:
- Accepting debit and credit card payments
- Allowing senders to set up recurring payments (subscriptions)
- Unlimited use of a PayPal ATM/debit card
Business and Premier Accounts also get a toll-free customer service number and extended customer service hours. These extra features come at the cost of transaction fees, which we'll take a closer look at later.
If you're starting your own PayPal account for a business, compare the fees and services from PayPal against other credit card transaction services to determine which works best for your needs. Consider that with PayPal, most of the code you'll need to add to a Web site is automated for you, too. Shopping cart functions or "pay now" buttons may not be as easy to implement through other services.
Once you have your account, you're ready to send and receive money. Next, let's look at how to use PayPal for sending money.