Hack 19 Request Money Without an Account

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Send a PayPal payment request without having to create a PayPal account, and send payment requests on behalf of other PayPal users.

Collecting small debts can be tricky, and most of us aren't good at it. It's easy to sound petty when asking for small amounts of money, so many people often don't. And borrowers often forget to pay. But if the subject comes up, it can be an awkward moment as the two individuals try to decide what's worse, being petty or being a deadbeat. Then there's the issue of exact change. If you remind them of the debt and they don't have enough money on hand, it means you have to go through the uncomfortable scenario all over again.

No one wants to be a debt collector, so wouldn't it be great if there were a service that would ask for money on your behalf? PayPal's Request Money feature will send an email to someone and politely request money on your behalf. Asking for money via email is a great way to get paid, because it allows you to make your request without requiring them to respond immediately. Offering PayPal as the payment method is even better, because others don't have to pay you in person and can make their payment for the exact amount they owe, using whatever means is most convenient (PayPal balance, credit card, electronic bank transfer, etc.).

However, to use Request Money you must have and log into your PayPal account. Or must you? Few people know that you can create your own payment request by adding a special link in your own email. And you don't even have to have a PayPal account.

To request money without using the PayPal web site, open any email program and start a new message.

Type this URL somewhere in the body of your email:


Add the email address to which the money should be sent (e.g., your email address):


You'll probably want to specify an amount by adding the optional amount parameter, like this, where 17.00 is the dollar amount you'd like the recipient to send you:


Finally, add text to your email, explaining why you are asking for money, and include a note that makes PayPal sound like the greatest thing since sliced bread (be careful not to sound like a spammer, however):

Hi Joe,

Thought I'd send you a friendly reminder to pay me the $17 you

owe me for that book I picked up for you last week. If you'd like,

you can pay me via PayPal by clicking this link and following the



When you're done, send the email!

When the recipient opens your message, he will read your note and (hopefully) click the PayPal link. Most people will be thankful that you have offered them an easy way to pay, or at the very least, you'll know that they know that you haven't forgotten.

3.7.1 See Also

  • For a taste of what your recipient will see, see [Hack #15] .

  • To send a payment request from the PayPal site, see [Hack #17] .

  • See [Hack #38] for another way to request money via email.