PayPal Privacy Pain

Hey folks,

this week two clients told me that they cannot use PayPal to purchase items at the moment, because PayPal is now asking for identity validation (e.g. passport copy) and temporary locking accounts without validation.

After PRISM and all that creepy stuff I can understand that people are not willing to send documents to any US based company. What’s your opinion? Has anyone else faced problems with that in the last days? How are other services acting (e.g. Payoneer)?

Best wishes!

Interesting! Yep I’d feel funny about providing those details just to make a purchase. Good thing is Envato now supports taking payment direct via credit card, hopefully that is an easier option for them.

I have seen recently big websites like PayPal or Upwork or other… requesting identity validation.

I’ve always sent them copies of my identity. I have nothing against this, I find it absolutely normal when they work with money (lots of money).

This is just a normal and legal measure against money laundering and terrorism financing.

I find it a bit funny that people are afraid of PRISM but they have smartphones with apps that have access to their call list or messages and everything :slight_smile:

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I’m in the same boat as you… had a bit of a hassle a few years back (5+) when I’ve initially set up PayPal, as I somehow got stuck in a verification loop and they were simply asking for more and more data until I stopped sending it in and just called to see what was up, moment in which someone just apologized and manually verified the account :smile:

As for why they’re doing this - in all honesty, I find it actually a bit late and I’m surprised it’s only happening now. It’s a huge win for online transaction security, and should have been a prerequisite for any new account that has total transactions over a certain (minimal) threshold. You can’t get a prepaid sim card in most countries nowadays without a valid ID, how is paying $80+ in an online transaction deserving less of a trust-inducing verification process?

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First of all, many people in Germany and Europe use PayPal just for making payments, that are directly charged from a “real” bank account, or vice versa they receive money and transfer it directly to a “real” bank account. So in both cases you need to have a validated bank account additional to paypal and that makes paypal validation unnecessary.

And come on, Terrorists won’t make payments over PayPal :slight_smile: Do you seriously believe in those hypocritical explanations?

In fact I find it alarming, that you cannot even buy a prepaid sim card without a valid ID because this puts any user under a general suspicion and besides it’s useless, since a salesperson at a supermarket will not figure out if you have a fake ID or maybe a stolen document or whatever.

Maybe you’ve read this famous quote by Benjamin Franklin:
“Those who surrender freedom for security will not have, nor do they deserve, either one.”

Not to contradict the great words of Benjamin Franklin, but just to put this into perspective, the beloved reversals are mostly caused by this freedom :wink:

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Paypal have to do this by law, when you send / receive certain amounts into your account you need to provide information for money laundering regulations (they vary from country to country though).

It’s a pain in the butt but it’s a price to pay when dealing with money online, especially with a company like Paypal who handles millions in transactions without any ID needed to setup an account… The limits are quite hight ($10k or something) so it’s only the “big buyers / sellers” who get this, I had to do this around 3 years ago on my Paypal account and never had to do anything since.

I can get people being scared to share their ID with a company but unfortunately Paypal by law have to prove that the money they are sending from x to y is a legit transaction… Any bank would do the same for someone doing large amounts of transactions, but they get ID on an account setup so you rarely get this, although I had to prove a money flow when sending a payment abroad from my bank.


Freedom is a natural condition. Security is just a human obsession.

Be that as it may, and not to go too far off-topic with this, but anything that you just called a “natural condition”, at the end of the day, is nothing more than a human expectation of what “has to be natural”, which is not much unlike what you defined as “a human obsession”. This is not about disagreeing with the concept of being free, but all I’m trying to say is that selective application of the notion is rarely constructive.

You’re free to advise your clients not to use PayPal, you’re free to object to their rulings, methods, whatever is related to the way they or any other entity chooses to operate, but you can’t have it both ways. It’s a simple choice really. Speaking of which, perhaps I’m missing something here, but why is it ok for a bank to ask for your personal details, and any papers they require to confirm your identity, yet an entity operating with the same currency is not? Is your freedom to decline providing these details or freedom to feel that your fundamental right to privacy was breached simply not applicable to a bank? If so, why?

Living in a society, using mechanisms defined by said society (be it banks or PayPal), one has the choice to be a part of said society or not (i.e: using either or not). Of course, having objections and contradicting opinions is part of those fundamental freedoms, so we can agree to disagree :smile: