Hack 1 Create a PayPal Account

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Sign up for your own PayPal account, which is necessary if you'll be receiving payments or using just about any other hack in this book.

Although you can send money without creating a PayPal account [Hack #15], there are advantages to having an account, including PayPal Buyer Protection, receiving payments, and viewing account history. And since there is no cost to create or maintain an account, the benefits easily outweigh the costs.

Here's what you'll need to get started:

  • Your email address

  • Your postal mailing address

  • Your phone number

You'll also be asked to provide two of the following four pieces of personal information, which will be used to verify your identity if you ever forget your account password:

  • Your mother's maiden name

  • The last four digits of your driver's license

  • The last four digits of your Social Security number

  • Your city of birth

To sign up for a Personal PayPal account (see the introduction to Chapter 3 for information on Business accounts), follow these steps:

  1. Go to http://www.paypal.com and click Sign Up.

  2. Select the Personal Account option, select your country, and then click Continue.

  3. On the Account Signup page, enter your postal mailing address. PayPal will double-check the city, state, and Zip Code, so they must be valid. The address you provide should be the same as the billing address of the credit card you plan on adding to your account, although you will be given the opportunity to change it later.

  4. Enter your telephone number, email address, and password. The email address must correspond to a valid email account to which you have immediate access, because you won't be able to use your PayPal account until you respond to the verification email that PayPal sends you.

    For security reasons, do not use the same password for your PayPal account and your email account. Otherwise, anyone who has access to your email account will also have access to your PayPal account and the money within.

    You should also enter a real phone number, since it's one of the ways PayPal allows you to regain access to your account if you forget your password [Hack #4].

  5. Enter your Security Question answers. If you're concerned about divulging real information here, then don't enter it! You can put any secret words or phrases into these fields, provided that you'll be able to remember them later on.

  6. When asked if you'd like this to be a Premier Account, select No.

    If anyone sends you a payment funded with a credit card, PayPal will require that you upgrade to a Premier (or Business) account at that time to accept the payment. Although there are advantages to these account types, you'll be charged a small fee for each subsequent payment you receive, regardless of the funding source. See the introduction to Chapter 3 for further details.

  7. Select Yes to indicate that you agree with the User Agreement and Privacy Policy, and check Yes again to indicate that you've read the Legal Disputes section. Enter the Security Measure characters as shown in the box [Hack #15] .

  8. Click Signup when you're done.

  9. The next page instructs you how to confirm your email address, which involves nothing more than opening the email message PayPal has just sent you and clicking the link inside.

After you confirm your email address, you will be able to use your account. However, you will have limited abilities until you verify your PayPal account [Hack #2].