Hack 3 Confirm Your Mailing Address

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Add a credit card and a confirmed shipping address to your PayPal account to have your payments accepted by more sellers.

Whenever you buy something online using a credit card, the store from which you made the purchase checks that the address you provided matches the address on file with your credit card company. Retailers do this as a security precaution to guard against payments made with stolen credit cards; otherwise, a thief could use your credit card number to purchase something and have it shipped anywhere.

Address matching is done through a standard system called Address Verification System/Service (AVS), which is set up by all the credit card companies. PayPal does the same thing when you add a credit card to your PayPal account:

  1. Log into PayPal, click the My Account tab, and then click Profile.

  2. Select Credit Cards under Financial Information.

  3. Any credit cards currently attached to your account will be shown here. Click Add to attach a new card.

  4. Fill in your credit card number and mailing address; make sure the address matches the one on file with your credit card company as precisely as possible.

  5. Click Add Card when you're done.

If PayPal is able to match the address through AVS, it will designate your address as Confirmed and you'll be able to use your credit card to fund payments right away. Plus, your payments will be eligible for PayPal's Seller Protection Policy [Hack #25], and sellers (especially on eBay) will be much more likely to accept your payments.

If you're an online seller, you'll need to decide if and when you'll consider shipping items to an unconfirmed address. See the introduction to Chapter 3 and [Hack #25] for account settings related to accepting payments from unconfirmed addresses.

1.4.1 Expanded Use Enrollment

If PayPal is unable to confirm your address through AVS, it will remain Unconfirmed and you won't be able to make credit card payments until you complete the Expanded Use Enrollment. Essentially, PayPal initiates the process by charging your credit card US$1.95 (don't worry; you'll get it back). When you receive your next credit card statement, a unique, randomly generated four-digit Expanded Use Number will accompany the charge.

If you have online access to your credit card account, check your statement online after three to four business days to view the Expanded Use Number. Otherwise, you'll have to wait for your credit card statement to arrive in the mail.

Once you obtain the Expanded Use Number, enter it into PayPal. Your address will be confirmed and you'll be able to make payments with your credit card. Plus, you'll get your $1.95 back in the form of a credit to your PayPal account.

If you can't complete the Expanded Use Enrollment, you'll have to complete Alternate Address Confirmation, which involves faxing several documents to PayPal. To qualify, you must be verified [Hack #2], a PayPal member for more than 90 days, and a U.S. member in good standing. You also must have a Buyer Participation buyer number [Hack #7] of more than 10.

1.4.2 Confirming a Second Address

Although some sellers ship anywhere you ask them to, most want to abide by PayPal's Seller Protection Policy [Hack #25] and thus will ship only to a confirmed address. Naturally, you might want to have more than one confirmed mailing address on your PayPal account.

There are two ways to go about this. The best way is to contact your credit card company and request that a second address be added to your credit card account. Most credit card banks will add an address to your credit card account for this purpose. You usually need to call your bank directly and provide them with the address. Some banks require you to fax or mail the request.

Once you have worked with your bank to have the new address added to your credit card account, you'll need to have it confirmed by PayPal:

  1. Log into PayPal, click the My Account tab, and then click Profile.

  2. Select Street Address under Account Information.

  3. Click Add, fill in the new address, and click Save when you're done.

  4. Select the address you just entered and click Confirm.

  5. Fill in your credit card information and click Continue.

If everything goes smoothly, PayPal will now designate that address as Confirmed and you'll get all the benefits of using a confirmed address.

Alternatively, if the need arises, you can use the Alternative Address Confirmation (AAC) process described on the PayPal web site.

?Patrick Breitenbach