There’s a lot of good stuff to be had online, especially if you’re looking for hard to find items like, comic books, trading cards or general nerd-related memorabilia. The rise of digital distribution also means that you can get a lot of games online, for cheap – digital distribution site Steam regularly does sales of PC games. Unfortunately a lot of these sites require you have a PayPal account, something that most Filipinos are wary of. Fear not, as we’ve written this handy-dandy guide to guide you to creating an account with PayPal.
In a nutshell, PayPal allows payments to be made to online vendors without revealing your credit/debit card number which adds a layer of security to online transactions and protects both parties from possible fraud. It also performs payment processing for online vendors and other commercial sites, which it then charges a fee. PayPal is a wholly owned subsidiary of eBay, so getting a PayPal account is pretty much a prerequisite before you can bid and post items on the site – for the US and UK versions of the site, at least.
Anyone can create a PayPal account which gives users limited functionality, which is a polite way of saying it’s pretty much useless until enroll in PayPal’s Expanded Use program. Before you enroll, you’ll need to make sure that your debit card has at least $1.95 in the account, or if you’re using a credit card make sure your card isn’t maxed out yet. PayPal will charge your credit/debit card with that amount which will be debited back with your first PayPal transaction. This is PayPal’s way of checking that the card that you linked is active and is your own.
Now that’s done, you’ll need to find the 4 digit expanded use code that PayPal issued with the verification. For credit card holders, you can check your next monthly statement for the code, or you can check your account history online for it. It’s pretty much the same for debit card holders – you can also check your account history to find the 4 digit expanded use code.
After getting the necessary digits, you can now go to the My Account Overview section of your account and finish the enrollment. And that’s it, you’ll now be able to shop online using PayPal.
So which card can you use? Well, in theory you can use any card issued in the Philippines that’s either VISA or Mastercard. Personally, I’ve had a great experience with Unionbank’s EON debit card service, and my action figure collection (don’t judge me) has grown as a result. EON doesn’t require you to maintain a specific amount in your account – you just pay Php 350 annually for the service. It takes about a week or two for Unionbank to process your application, but it’s worth it. If in doubt, always call your bank or financial institution before going forward.
There are just a few things to note when using PayPal. One is that buyers have 60 days of buyer protection, meaning that you’ll be able to file complaints against sellers that have not fulfilled their end of the bargain, like not shipping the item after a set amount of time, etc. Another is that there are a large number of phishing efforts aimed at collecting users data either from email spam or other methods. Remember, PayPal will NEVER ask for your username and password through email. If you receive an email that asks for your username and password, or has a link that redirects you (supposedly) to the site, DO NOT CLICK ON IT. It’s a well known phishing tactic that sends you to compromised webpage that will take your information and run with it.
If you do have issues with your PayPal account, it’s best that you do your login through the company’s official url, and always check if the page is using HTTPS instead of HTTP in the beginning of the URL, as HTTPS ensures you are on a secure connection with the site.