Friday 24th May 2024

How well do you know PayPal?


This month I got my PayPal account limited. What this means is that I could not deposit money from my PayPal account into my bank account. Why? You may ask. Because, when I opened my account, almost eight years ago, I was 16. I could not honestly remember opening my account, let alone lying about my age during the application process- I was truthful about my date of birth, in fact, yet somewhere nestled in the terms and conditions of service was the prohibition of account ownership by anyone under the age of 18. The reason for this actually makes perfect sense to the 24 year old me, writing this for you now; yet I remain bemused as to the reason why action had to be taken eight years later. What 16 year old properly combs through the terms and conditions of every service that they use?

Here are three points that I think that we should all think about:

Read the Terms and Conditions

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Even as adults, I’d wager that most of us don’t read the terms and conditions for the vast majority of services that we sign up to. Why should we? It’s boring, and no-one seems to have any time anymore. But terms and conditions are a legally binding contract, and there’s never a more important time to read a contract than when money’s involved. PayPal owns the service that they provide, and as such, can retract it at any time due to violations of this contract.

Always Withdraw Your Money ASAP

This seems like a simple one, but I’m always amazed at how many people will have hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds sitting in their PayPal account, just waiting to be withdrawn to their bank account. Withdrawing money from PayPal is free – you should do it as frequently as you can. If you fail to withdraw money and your account gets limited, you may very well find yourself at the mercy of the company when it comes to releasing your money.

Check the Date that You Joined PayPal

PayPal’s service was launched to the public in January 1999 (as a fellow user joked to me ‘PayPal is underage. It can’t use its own services.’) which means that, if you’re someone who is under the age of 30 who has had access to the internet at any point during your childhood, you very well could have opened a PayPal account when you were under the age of 18. My younger sister, for example, opened one when she was just 13. Even if you are now in your late 20s, this won’t stop PayPal from restricting your account; I got into a conversation on Facebook with a woman, now 29, who was recently contacted by PayPal regarding her account being limited. This woman signed up to the service 12 years ago, when she was 17.

If you find (or suspect) that you may have been underage when you created your account- take a deep breath. It’s better to take action sooner rather than later. You should release your email address from your PayPal (you can do this by adding another one if you don’t already have multiple addresses associated with the account, and then removing the email that you want to use). You can then create a new PayPal account legally, as someone over the age of 18. If you leave this until your account gets limited, you may find yourself in a sticky position. However, if you switch the email that you’re currently using over to a new account, you should be able to continue using the service with little to no extra bother.

Maddy Sutherland

Maddy is a freelance illustrator who lives in Glasgow. She's recently graduated and is working hard to make ends meet. Self-employed? Read Maddy's experiences here.

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