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PayPal is dropping late fees on its buy now, pay later service

The company believes the move will increase use among younger consumers

PayPal said it is eliminating late fees for missed payments when customers use its buy now, pay later (BNPL) service. In the U.S., the new policy on new purchases with Pay in 4 will take effect on Oct. 1.

The company said it is adopting the policy to help consumers who are looking for ways to manage their finances and avoid fees. It cites a recent study showing that a third of consumers believe that having no late fees is an important feature in choosing a buy now, pay l...

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    PayPal to let customers withdraw cash at Walmart

    Walmart customers can soon take out cash from their PayPal account in-store

    PayPal has announced that it’s teaming up with Walmart to allow customers to withdraw cash from their PayPal account at any Walmart store across the country.

    The new service will let the companies’ shared customers take out or deposit cash to their PayPal account at Walmart’s service desks, ATMs, or cash registers. Customers will need to have their PayPal app or a PayPal Cash Mastercard to make transactions. Each transaction will come with a service fee of $3.

    The payment giant noted in a statement that this is the first time PayPal app users will be able to take out cash from their account balance in a brick-and-mortar environment.

    “We are committed to working together to make it simple and easy for people to use PayPal cash in and cash out money services at every Walmart location in the U.S. We look forward to working hand-in-hand to help people and families with their financial services needs,” Dan Schulman, PayPal President and CEO, said in a statement.

    Providing “great value”

    For its part, Walmart says it is committed to expanding access to products and services like these.  

    Daniel Eckert, Walmart’s senior vice president, noted that 90 percent of U.S. consumers live within 10 miles of a Walmart store. He said the new service will offer “great value to the many people who rely on Walmart and PayPal to help manage and move their money.”

    The ability to deposit cash through the new system is immediately available, while the ability to take cash out will be available at all Walmart locations across the U.S. by early November.

    Earlier this year, PayPal made another move into the mainstream banking space by partnering with Venmo to launch a MasterCard debit card that allows users to make in-store and online payments with their Venmo balance.

    PayPal has also previously partnered with Apple, Facebook, and Skype with the goal of launching additional offerings to customers.

    PayPal has announced that it’s teaming up with Walmart to allow customers to withdraw cash from their PayPal account at any Walmart store across the countr...
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    PayPal and Amazon in discussions over payment partnership

    The move would allow Amazon customers to use their PayPal accounts to buy products

    Back in 2015, PayPal split away from eBay in an effort to focus on its electronic transactions business. Since then, the company has vigorously pursued agreements with other companies and institutions to increase the number of people who use its service.

    In February of 2015, the U.S. Treasury said that it would start accepting payments via PayPal at its Pay.gov site, giving consumers more options on how they can pay fines, penalties, or loan repayments. Even more recently, the company teamed up with MasterCard to offer consumers more tap-and-pay options.

    Now, it looks like the online payment company is looking to strike a deal with Amazon. Bloomberg reports that the two companies are discussing the possibility of letting consumers pay for Amazon purchases by using their PayPal accounts. While a verified plan has not been announced, officials say the deal is very possible.

    “We’re closing in on 200 million users on our platform right now. At that scale, it’s hard for any retailer to think about not accepting PayPal,” said CEO Dan Schulman.

    Potential deal

    The potential deal could be pretty attractive to Amazon users who are leery of submitting their credit card information to buy products. In a best-case scenario, the move would allow for more sales on Amazon’s end and create more point-of-sale presence for PayPal.

    However, while consumers would enjoy more freedom, some may question whether the deal is actually necessary for Amazon. Back in April, the company announced its own PayPal-like program that would allow customers to use their Amazon accounts to pay for products sold by associated merchants.

    However, as Schulman pointed out, the 197 million active users on PayPal may be hard to ignore, despite Amazon’s desire to control payments on its own. Thus far, Amazon has declined to comment on the matter.

    Back in 2015, PayPal split away from eBay in an effort to focus on its electronic transactions business. Since then, the company has vigorously pursued agr...
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    PayPal slapped for signing up consumers for "Bill Me Later" credit plans

    The e-pay giant will pay $15 million in refunds and a $10 million fine

    PayPal has agreed to pay $15 million in refunds on top of  $10 million fine for signing up consumers for its online credit plan without their permission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced.

    The CFPB said that PayPal deceptively advertised promotion benefits that it failed to honor, signed customers up with permission and made them use PayPal Credit or its predecessor, Bill Me Later, without consent. 

    PayPal said it was working to improve its processes.

    “PayPal Credit takes consumer protection very seriously. We continually improve our products and enhance our communications to ensure a superior customer experience. Our focus is on ease of use, clarity and providing high-quality products that are useful to consumers and are in compliance with applicable laws,” a PayPal spokesperson said in an email to ConsumerAffairs.

    “PayPal illegally signed up consumers for its online credit product without their permission and failed to address disputes when they complained,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “Online shopping has become a way of life for many Americans and it’s important that they are treated fairly. The CFPB’s action should send a signal that consumers are protected whether they are opening their wallets or clicking online to make a purchase.”

    Consumers writing to ConsumerAffairs would agree with Cordray.

    "I love PayPal but I made the mistake of accepting PayPal credit and debit," said Gayle of Palm Coast, Fla., one of the many consumers who have complained about the service. "I have been trying to close the account online for months, and it wouldn't let me, even with $0 balance and waiting until the payment had processed. I finally called customer service. After four conversations (with helpful agents) and one dropped call, I finally accomplished the task. What a mess!"

    Since 2008, PayPal has offered PayPal Credit to consumers across the country making purchases from thousands of online merchants, including eBay. The CFPB alleges that many consumers who were attempting to enroll in a regular PayPal account, or make an online purchase, were signed up for the credit product without realizing it.

    The company also failed to post payments properly, lost payment checks, and mishandled billing disputes that consumers had with merchants or the company. Tens of thousands of consumers experienced these issues.

    "Deceptive and misleading"

    Consumers rate PayPal Credit (formerly Bill Me Later)

    One of them was Chris of Elk Grove, Calif., who posted a ConsumerAffairs review about her experience.

    "I ordered and paid for an item using my PayPal account. I thought I was signing in and paying for my purchase - just by following the on-screen prompts. What I didn't realize was that I was signing up for a PayPal Credit account," Chris said. "I did not find this out until I received a bill in the mail about 2 weeks later. It was only for $7.00 but I thought the transaction was complete. I then noticed the $7.00 was for a monthly reoccurring fee for the credit account I had unknowingly opened."

    Chris then tried to close the account. She called PayPal and talked to a service rep, who refused to cancel the $7 payment.

    "The way PayPal's payment website is designed, it makes it extremely easy for a casual user to sign up for a credit account without the user's knowledge. In my opinion it is a deceptive and misleading business practice. ... I always thought Paypal was reliable and an asset to internet merchandising but I will try to avoid PayPal in the future," Chris vowed.

    Settlement terms

    Under the proposed settlement announced today, PayPal would be required to:

    Pay $15 million in redress to victims: PayPal would reimburse consumers who were mistakenly enrolled in PayPal Credit, who mistakenly paid for a purchase with PayPal Credit, or who incurred fees or deferred interest as a result of the company’s inadequate disclosures and flawed customer-service practices.

    Improve disclosures: PayPal would be required to take steps to improve its consumer disclosures related to enrollment in PayPal Credit to ensure that consumers know they are enrolling or using the product for a purchase. 

    Pay $10 million civil penalty: PayPal would pay $10 million to the CFPB’s Civil Penalty Fund.

    PayPal has agreed to pay $15 million in refunds on top of  $10 million fine for signing up consumers for its online credit plan without their permission, t...
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    U.S. Treasury will accept payments via PayPal and Dwolla

    The feds are trying to move away from paper transactions

    Bitcoin is still not welcome but the U.S. Treasury says it will now accept some payments via PayPal and Dwolla.

    The Pay.gov site accepts payments for all kinds of things, including fines, penalties and loan repayments. It even accepts contributions, should you feel the need to give more money to the government.

    The government's goal is to move further away from paper-based transactions and more toward electronic ones, which it considers more efficient and secure.

    In 2014, the Treasury Department's Fiscal Service office handled $3.73 trillion in revenue by processing 400 million transactions through such programs as Pay.gov. Almost 98 percent, or $3.69 trillion, were settled electronically.

    Bitcoin is still not welcome but the U.S. Treasury says it will now accept some payments via PayPal and Dwolla....
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    PayPal to start accepting bitcoin

    World's second-largest Internet payment network promises a "sleek experience"

    Ebay's PayPal says it will begin accepting bitcoins, a major endorsement of the fledgling virtual currency system. With 152 million registered PayPal users and the world's biggest Web martketplace, Ebay's entry could spur wider use and acceptance of bitcoin by consumers and businesses. 

    It could also make Ebay a big transactional player in such fast-growing businesses as Uber and Airbnb, which use Ebay's Braintree as their mobile payment processor. Ebay acquired Braintree last year to expand its mobile-transactions business.

    Consumers rate PayPal
    Bill Ready, Braintree's CEO, announced the decision at Techcrunch’s Disrupt SF conference yesterday, Bloomberg News reported. “Over the coming months we’ll allow our merchants to accept bitcoins. On the consumer side it will be a sleek experience,” he said.

    Tens of thousands of PayPal merchants used Braintree as their payment processor, potentially enabling them to accept bitcoin payments for everything from a $2 cup of coffee to an $895 pair of Paul Andrew boots at Neiman Marcus.

    Dish Networks, Overstock and Expedia also accept the virtual currency, as do 63,000 smaller businesses. There are estimated to be about 5 million digital "wallets" currently in use. Although an individual could have more than one wallet, the number of wallets is generally considered to translate roughly to the approximate number of users worldwide.

    Imaginary currency

    Bitcoins are "imaginary" units of currency that exist in online public ledgers that are kept confidential through cryptography. Governments, which are accustomed to having exclusive rights to print money, are somewhat dismayed by the prospect of a global currency that is completely beyond their control but so far have done little to impede its growth.

    It's relatively easy for consumers to set up a bitcoin account at sites such as Blockchain and Coinbase. But consumers should be aware that there are no protections similar to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and no help is available for consumers who lose their virtual funds.

    Most bitcoin wallets are linked to consumers' bank accounts and it's also wise to be aware that if a consumer loses control of his virtual wallet, evil-doers could clean out the connected bank account.

    There's also the little matter of volatility. Bitcoin prices have swung from more than $900 to as low as $341 this year. Today's price is $465.77. 

    Ebay's PayPal says it will begin accepting bitcoins, a major endorsement of the fledgling virtual currency system. With 152 million registered PayPal users...
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    PayPal president upset that PayPal employees don't use PayPal

    David Marcus tells workers to use the app, or quit

    What is it about tech-company executives and their tendency to conflate “nagging” with “producing a product that people actually want to use?”

    Last November, for example, a couple of high-ranking Yahoos embarrassed themselves by criticizing rank-and-file Yahoo employees who agreed with the countless Yahoo customers who've said Yahoo's “new and allegedly improved Gmail-knockoff” email system is absolutely awful.

    (Disclaimer: we always thought that if you're a business whose customers hate your new product offering, changing that one product might be easier than changing all your customers' minds. This might explain why we've never been hired as a high-ranking tech executive.)

    David Marcus, president of PayPal, takes his nagging farther than any Yahoo exec dreamed of doing. Marcus discovered that PayPal employees haven't been using the new PayPal app to pay for purchases, which upset him so much he suggested they find new jobs. Here's what he wrote in an employee-wide email sent on Feb. 10:

    “It’s been brought to my attention that when testing paying with mobile at Cafe 17 last week, some of you refused to install the PayPal app (!!?!?!!), and others didn’t even remember their PayPal password. That’s unacceptable to me, and the rest of my team, everyone at PayPal should use our products where available. That’s the only way we can make them better, and better.”

    The “only” way? Listening to actual customer feedback somehow isn't an option? Maybe not, since PayPal customers aren't likely to be as enthusiastic about PayPal as Marcus would prefer. A properly enthusiastic PayPal employee is one who violates various federal and state-level anti-hacking laws to force companies to accept PayPal (and give PayPal a cut of the proceeds), whether said companies want to or not:

    “Employees in other offices hack into Coke machines to make them accept PayPal because they feel passionately about using PayPal everywhere. I don’t see these behaviors here in San Jose.”

    Lazy bums. Sounds like the San Jose PayPallers' collective work ethic is almost as dismal as that of our own colleagues: we're all allegedly passionate about consumer journalism here, yet none of us hack into other websites to make them accept our articles. Apparently this is a character flaw.

    “In closing, if you are one of the folks who refused to install the PayPal app or if you can’t remember your PayPal password, do yourself a favor, go find something that will connect with your heart and mind elsewhere.”

    So if you want to work for PayPal, it's not enough that you complete your assigned tasks in an effective and timely manner, nor is it even enough that you use PayPal for your everyday non-business purchases.

    No.

    You must set aside any notion that PayPal is merely a “job,” or even your “career”; PayPal is, like joining the priesthood or a nunnery, a calling which must “connect with your heart and mind” in addition to your smartphone app sending three percent of all purchases to expand the profit margin of the PayPal company.

    What is it about tech-company executives and their tendency to conflate “nagging” with “producing a product that people actually want to use?”...
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    PayPal upgrades its app to make it more useful in retail settings

    It will be easier to pay for purchases, and users can order ahead at participating restaurants

    PayPal is upgrading its iPhone and Android apps today, making it easier to pay for purchases in stores. It's supposed to make it easier to use various stored accounts, like bank accounts and credit cards, to make purchases.

    PayPal executives say that most mobile wallets -- like Google Wallet -- haven't taken off because they're simply too cumbersome, making it more convenient to pull out a credit card or just pay cash. 

    That may still be true but PayPal has added or reshuffled several features that it thinks will make the app more popular. For one, it's now easier to send money to friends or pay for certain items iin stores. 

    Users will also be able to place and pay for orders ahead in participating restaurants and shops like Jamba Juice, which was one of the first to test the new system. Special offers and coupons will also be more prominently feature, the company said.

    PayPal is also making Bill Me Later a payment option.

    PayPal is upgrading its iPhone and Android apps today, making it easier to pay for purchases in stores. It's supposed to make it easier to use various stor...
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    PayPal Teams With Discover to Expand Payment System

    PayPal accounts will be usable at most Discover locations in 2013

    PayPal is becoming more of an off-line payment source, allowing account-holders to pay with PayPal in stores and restaurants.

    In its latest move in that direction, it has announced a deal with Discover that will expand PayPal acceptance to more than seven million point of purchase locations in the U.S. beginning in 2013.

    “What that means in a nutshell is that PayPal can be enabled as a payments option for our 50-plus million active users in the U.S. at any in-store location that accepts Discover,” Don Kingsborough, VP of Retail and Prepaid Products, said in a statement.

    The addition of the Discover locations will add to the 16 million locations where PayPal is already in use. Kingsborough says more than 3,000 national retail chains accept PayPal.

    Starting in 2013, Discover will work with PayPal to enable participating merchants to accept PayPal through their existing relationship with Discover.

    Industry milestone

    "The establishment of this relationship is a major industry milestone, which will help shape the emerging payments landscape by bringing together an established direct banking and payments company with a leading commerce enabler to create an alternative payments option for consumers at the point of sale," said Diane Offereins, President of Discover Payment Services. “This initiative will result in real change and innovation for the industry by bringing new technologies to the point of sale that benefit merchants and PayPal customers."

    Kingsborough, meanwhile, says the relationship will create a seamless digital wallet allowing PayPal's users to spend their PayPal account money at brick and mortar locations where they shop. To offer PayPal, merchants will not have to install or upgrade existing point-of-sale hardware or software and consumers will know of this additional payments option through in-store signage.

    PayPal currently is currently testing a point of purchase payment system at several retailers including The Home Depot, Abercrombie & Fitch or Jos. A. Banks. Originally established as a means to make online payments, it has begun a strategy to evolve into more of a traditional payment system, allowing customers to enter their mobile phone number and PIN on the merchant's payment terminal rather than swiping a card.

    Under the newly announced agreement, Discover will process the PayPal payments made through its system.

    PayPal Teams With Discover to Expand Payment SystemPayPal is becoming more of an off-line payment source, allowing account-holders to pay with PayPal in ...
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    PayPal Urged to Back Off Book Censorship

    Online publishers, bookstores, authors threatened by PayPal

    Information technology can be a powerful tool for free expression but it can also be a mighty weapon for suppression of expression, as a recent controversy involving PayPal shows.

    A coalition of civil liberties organizations and publishers is calling on PayPal to reverse a policy that shuts off payment services to publishers of certain forms of erotic literature. 

    Under the policy, PayPal has threatened to shut down the accounts of online publisher Smashwords and others, unless they eliminate erotica featuring incest, rape, and bestiality. As scholars and booksellers can attest, these are themes prevalent in many forms of literature, from Grecian myths to the Bible.

    The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) joined ACLU of California, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, Authors Guild, National Coalition Against Censorship, and others in sending a joint letter to PayPal condemning this policy as contrary to free speech. 

    "Unfortunately, this is not the first time we’ve seen a payment services provider interfering with access to lawful speech," said Rainey Reitman, activism director for EFF, in an EFF blog posting. "As we saw when Mastercard, Visa, and PayPal created a financial blockade against the whistleblower website WikiLeaks, financial service providers are an important part of the chain of intermediaries upon which online communication depends.

    "When even one of those intermediaries caves to pressure or takes on a censorial role, our rights to read and speak freely are jeopardized. We need to send a signal to all back-end service providers that they have no business interfering with the distribution of lawful content," Reitman said.

    PayPal recently gave online publishers and booksellers, including Book Strand, Smashwords, and eXcessica, an ultimatum: it would close their accounts and refuse to process all payments unless they removed erotic books containing descriptions of rape, incest, and bestiality.

    "The result would severely restrict the public's access to a wide range of legal material, could drive some companies out of business and deprive some authors of their livelihood," said a letter sent by the coalition to PayPal.

    "Financial services providers should be neutral when it comes to lawful online speech.  PayPal’s policy underscores how vulnerable such speech can be and how important it is to stand up and protect it," the letter said.

    As the National Coalition Against Censorship and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression explained in a recent public letter:

    The policy positions PayPal as contemporary exponent of its own Index Librorum Prohibitorum. The Catholic Church’s Index of Prohibited Books, like the Hays code in the film industry, has long since lost favor with the American public, and there is no reason to think that they would welcome PayPal in a similar role. The commitment to free speech is firmly embedded in our society, legally and culturally.

    And as the ACLU of Northern California explained in their statement against this form of censorship, "Free speech isn't so free when booksellers have to choose between hosting legitimate content and earning a living."

    Information technology can be a powerful tool for free expression but it can also be a mighty weapon for suppression of expression, as a recent controver...
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