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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.

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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...

    PayPal backs down from mandatory-robocalls policy

    New policy would have started this week, under PayPal's original plan

    PayPal users will be glad to know that this week, the company backed down from its controversial plan to bombard customers' phones with unwanted spam text messages and robocalls. Whether this change was inspired by the company's own better natures, or by a deluge of unwanted attention from customers, the media, and various legal authorities remains up for debate.

    Consumers are responsible for spam costs

    Early in June, PayPal posted some intended changes to its online user agreement, changes originally slated to come into force yesterday. Here's an excerpt from the then-new revised rules regarding mobile phone customers (bold print emphasis added):

    You consent to receive autodialed or prerecorded calls and text messages from PayPal at any telephone number that you have provided us or that we have otherwise obtained.  We may place such calls or texts to (i) notify you regarding your account; (ii) troubleshoot problems with your account (iii) resolve a dispute; (iv) collect a debt; (v) poll your opinions through surveys or questionnaires, (vii) contact you with offers and promotions; or (viii) as otherwise necessary to service your account or enforce this User Agreement, our policies, applicable law, or any other agreement we may have with you.

    Translation: PayPal reserves the right to call you for any reason it wants, at any number they can find for you whether you voluntarily gave them the number or not. The user agreement went on to say:

    The ways in which you provide us a telephone number include, but are not limited to, providing a telephone number at Account opening, adding a telephone number to your Account at a later time, providing it to one of our employees, or by contacting us from that phone number. If a telephone number provided to us is a mobile telephone number, you consent to receive SMS or text messages at that number. … Standard telephone minute and text charges may apply if we contact you.

    In other words, if you so much as call them from your own phone, they reserve the right to bombard that phone with unwanted calls, SMS, or text messages henceforth, and you're responsible for any costs of their phone calls or text messages. (On a limited data plan? You might have to pay for an upgrade, to ensure PayPal's self-serving spam outreach program doesn't exceed your limit.)

    And for anyone who didn't want to be pestered by, let alone forced to pay extra for, promotional phone calls or advertising text messages, the only option PayPal offered was to “close your account within the 30 day period.”

    PayPal backs down

    A week after that initial announcement, the New York attorney general's office sent PayPal a letter criticizing the proposed policy changes on various grounds, including possible violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.

    But this week, less than 48 hours before the planned implementation of these new changes, PayPal backed down. Senior vice-president Louise Pentland posted an online “Update to our User Agreement” starting out with a mea culpa statement:

    We value our relationship with our customers and work hard to communicate clearly. Recently, however, we did not live up to our own standards.

    Specifically, what PayPal had here was a failure to communicate:

    In sending our customers a notice about upcoming changes to our User Agreement we used language that did not clearly communicate how we intend to contact them. Unfortunately, this language caused confusion and concern with some of our customers.

    To clarify the situation, PayPal re-modified the terms of its user agreement in order to:

    ….make it clear that PayPal primarily uses autodialed or prerecorded calls and texts to:

    • Help detect, investigate and protect our customers from fraud

    • Provide notices to our customers regarding their accounts or account activity

    • Collect a debt owed to us

    The post went on to say that customers would not receive marketing robocalls “without prior express written consent.”

    The New York attorney general's office, which sent those initial complaint letters to PayPal earlier last month, responded to PayPal's announcement with a brief statement:

    “In response to a letter from the Attorney General’s Internet Bureau PayPal will only robocall consumers in instances of fraud, debt collection or in relation to account activity. In the long term, PayPal has committed to providing additional opt-out features to consumers for even these calls at the point when a consumer discloses her phone number. In the meantime, consumers should contact PayPal directly to express their opt-out preferences.”

    PayPal users will be glad to know that this week, the company backed down from its controversial plan to bombard customers' phones with unwanted spam text ...

    New York attorney general questions PayPal and eBay robocall mandates

    The two companies' new user agreements are so offensive, they might even be illegal

    Last week eBay and PayPal both announced some upcoming changes to their user agreements, changes indicating such breathtaking contempt for their customers' preferences and privacy, it might (hopefully) be illegal for the companies to put those policies into effect.

    This week, the New York State Attorney General's office sent letters to both eBay and PayPal, expressing concern that their proposed new policies might violate a number of state or federal regulations, including the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

    Otherwise, the eBay policy changes are scheduled to come into force on June 15, and PayPal's on July 1. And those changes basically say that the company reserves the right to plague customers with robocalls and text messages for any reason.

    "Otherwise obtained"

    Check out this excerpt from PayPal's revised rules regarding mobile telephone numbers (bold print emphasis added):

    You consent to receive autodialed or prerecorded calls and text messages from PayPal at any telephone number that you have provided us or that we have otherwise obtained.  We may place such calls or texts to (i) notify you regarding your account; (ii) troubleshoot problems with your account (iii) resolve a dispute; (iv) collect a debt; (v) poll your opinions through surveys or questionnaires, (vii) contact you with offers and promotions; or (viii) as otherwise necessary to service your account or enforce this User Agreement, our policies, applicable law, or any other agreement we may have with you.

    Translation: PayPal reserves the right to call you for any reason it wants, at any number they can find for you whether you voluntarily gave them the number or not.

    The ways in which you provide us a telephone number include, but are not limited to, providing a telephone number at Account opening, adding a telephone number to your Account at a later time, providing it to one of our employees, or by contacting us from that phone number. If a telephone number provided to us is a mobile telephone number, you consent to receive SMS or text messages at that number. … Standard telephone minute and text charges may apply if we contact you.

    Spam outreach

    So if you so much as call them from your own phone, they reserve the right to bombard that phone with unwanted calls, SMS or text messages henceforth, and you're responsible for any costs of their phone calls or text messages. (On a limited data plan? You might have to pay for an upgrade, to ensure PayPal's self-serving spam outreach program doesn't exceed your limit.)

    And if you don't want to be pestered by, let alone pay extra for, promotional calls or advertising texts, what can you do about it?

    If you do not agree to these amended terms, you may close your account within the 30 day period and you will not be bound by the amended terms.

    Translation: take it or leave it.

    So this week, the New York attorney general's office sent separate letters (available as Wall Street Journal .pdfs here and here ) to eBay and PayPal. Kathleen McGee, the Internet Bureau Chief for the New York AG's office, signed the letters, which criticized the mandatory robocalls policy on various grounds:

    This practice raises issues under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, and implicates whether the customer actually consented to such calls in light of its inconspicuous disclosure in a dense 12-page user agreement. It is also inconsistent with consumers’ aversion to this invasive form of marketing and the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission’s recent efforts to limit their use. The FCC received over 215,000 complaints about this issue in 2014 alone.

    That quote was from the letter to eBay; the PayPal letter says the same thing, except the “12-page user agreement” is a “20-page user agreement” instead.

    McGee also criticized the “like it or leave it” choice as being no choice at all: “Additionally, without any way to opt-out of the communications, customers can either agree to the new policies in their entirety or stop using the service completely. In other words, customers must accept automated marketing calls, emails and text messages or close their account.”

    This might work for some companies, but in light of eBay and PayPal's “dominant market position” in their respective fields (online auctions and online payment systems), “it is unclear whether consumers really have a choice at all.”

    A PayPal representative told Reuters that the company had indeed received McGee's letter and would respond to it, and also said that PayPal customers could choose not to receive robocalls.

    Representatives for eBay, however, “did not immediately respond” to requests for comment.

    Last week eBay and PayPal both announced some upcoming changes to their user agreements, changes indicating such breathtaking contempt for their customers'...

    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...

    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....

    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...

    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?”...

    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...

    PayPal Adds Price Matching Program

    Consumers would like to see more improvements in basic services

    When PayPal first got started most people were leery about sending money back and forth electronically.

    Mind you, this was back in 2000 when a good portion of folks still trekked to their local branch for their banking needs, and if you checked your balance by printing out an ATM receipt, it didn’t make you seem ancient or completely out of the technological loop.

    Today both businesses and consumers shuffle finances through PayPal with a great amount of confidence. No longer do users wonder if their money will end up in the land of digital nowhere or in the pocket of some Internet robber using PayPal as his mask.

    Truthfully, using the online money exchange service is as common as using sites like Twitter and Facebook, and the level of trust and comfort users have equals both social sites.

    And for that very reason PayPal is trying to compete with giant retailers in the area of price matching -- which is when a store pays you the price difference if you happen to find one of its sale items cheaper someplace else.

    The company plans to roll out the digital program this holiday season.

    Snag sales

    Many retailers—both online and brick and mortar—are eager to secure shopping dollars this holiday season, and mega stores like Target and Best Buy have already used price matching to help pull that off.

    Whether consumers will associate PayPal with holiday shopping remains to be seen, because sometimes it takes a little while for people to change their view of a company once it takes on other roles and different functions.

    Here’s how the price matching program works: If you buy certain products exclusively with your PayPal account, you have 30 days to see if another store has it for less. Easy enough, right?

    But consumers will have to locate a printed version of the other store’s advertisement and the ad needs to have details like the sales price, the name of the store or dealer, and the dates of that store’s sale.

    Also, the item must be identical to the one you initially purchased, and it can’t be offered on any auction sites. However items that are bought new on eBay can be part of the price matching program, but they have to be sold by one of the sites’ top rated sellers.

    PayPal also limits payments for each item up to $250, and each customer won’t be paid more than $1,000 while the program exists. Also, once you see the advertisement for the cheaper item, you have 10 days to file a request if you want to be paid the difference.

    Improvement needed

    Although the price buying program is a good step for the online company, many consumers would prefer if PayPal would first make improvements in the area of money exchange.

    Consumers rate PayPal - Complaints from Buyers

    Just ask Carlos of Azusa, Calif.—one of our readers who experienced some stressful dealings with the company.

    “My wife opened a new PayPal account to transfer money to our bank account in Mexico and they blocked her account,” he wrote in his ConsumerAffairs posting.

     “Then she calls and asks why. They said that she needs to provide some information and a phone number, but my mom doesn’t have a phone number in Mexico. Then she tried to send the money back to me as a refund and they limited the account. Now, they limited my account and they are asking us for IDs and proof that we are who we are or they will hold the money for 180 days,” Carlos explained.

    And he isn’t the only one who experienced trouble with the company, as many readers have complained about PayPal holding their money for seemingly no just cause. Apparently, it doesn’t take much for the company to keep your finances.

    “I have sold an item for several hundred dollars last weekend,” wrote Tom from Oregon.

    “I was paid the day after the auction ended. PayPal put the funds on hold for 21 days. They may release them earlier if positive feedback was left by the buyer. They may release the funds three days after they have confirmed delivery of the item. I am a casual seller. I am not a business.

    “I have a 100 percent positive feedback rating. This is my money and PayPal has no right to put the funds on hold. This company appears to be totally out of control. If this practice isn’t illegal, then it definitely should be,” Tom wrote in the comments section.

    A PayPal spokesperson responded on Nov.9 to the sellers' complaints, providing this statement:

    "We recognize that the holds process is frustrating for anyone affected who is selling via PayPal, and we are making some significant changes in how this policy is implemented and how we communicate what's happening to our customers.  Holds are put in place to protect the entire ecosystem of online payments - for both buyer and seller. Unfortunately, when you provide a service that enables millions of people to send and receive payments around the world, there is a high potential for fraud.

    "We take this very seriously and have in place some of the best
    anti-fraud and automated risk technology in the business.  A very small percentage of the six million transactions we process every day are affected, but we apologize if anyone is subject to a hold who should not have been affected ."

    Airline tickets

    The company’s price matching program also includes airline tickets. If you purchase an eligible ticket using your PayPal account within the U.S., you’ll be paid the difference if you see the same flight on a printed ad or on another airlines’ website. You have seven days from the initial purchase to request payment.

     The price limit is $1,000 per person during the program for the tickets and PayPal will pay each person up to $250.

    In addition, the ad showing the cheaper flight must include the sales price, the flight number, the date the lower price was listed, and the departure date. You also have ten days from when you see the other ad to file a payment request.

    When PayPal first got started most people were leery about sending money back and forth electronically.Mind you, this was 2000 when a good portion of fol...

    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 ...

    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...