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10 Great PayPal Tips for Solopreneurs and Small Business Owners

PayPal Inc.Image via Wikipedia

As I have said in my previous post, “PayPal.com Makes Ecommerce Easy for Solopreneurs” I have been a PayPal member for 8 years so I am definitely hooked on using them for my business. Over the years I have learned many of the ins and outs of using the PayPal service. Here are my top ten tips on using your PayPal account.

  1. Upgrade your account from Personal to Business.
    If you have not done this already upgrade your account to a PayPal Business account. A PayPal personal account is very limited and won’t give you all the features you need to help you run your business. Two main reasons. You can operate a PayPal Business account under your business name you can also accept credit card payments from non-PayPal account holders. As great as PayPal is to your business to accept credit card payments not everyone wants or needs a PayPal account. Click here for more information on upgrading.
  2. Apply for the PayPal Debit Card: By now you have hopefully had your PayPal account for some time but you may not know about getting your own PayPal Debit Card. The PayPal Debit card will allow you instant access to the money in your PayPal account from any ATM machine. Solopreneurs need to have direct access to funds that will allow them to stay competitive in today’s marketplace. Your PayPal Debit card will also give you Cash Back with the PayPal Preferred Rewards program. This rewards program provides 1% cash back on the net amount of your eligible monthly purchases.
  3. Use the PayPal Invoicing Service. One of the best features that I use almost every day is the PayPal Invoicing service. Not only can I send out professional electronic invoices via email but once they are received by my clients, the invoice includes a link that allows them to make a payment by credit card. After sending your invoice you also have the option of saving that same invoice as a template for future use with other clients. I use this feature so much I wish PayPal would raise the number of templates you can save, which at this date happens to be 10.

  4. Add a Bank Account or Credit card to your PayPal account. Having a bank account and/or a credit card attached to your PayPal account is good for two very important reasons. First you need a bank account in order to transfer money in or out of your PayPal account. Second it is always smart to have that bank account or credit card available as a backup just in case your PayPal account cannot cover the amount you need to make an online purchase.
  5. Beware E-check Payments. If you are paid by a PayPal E-Check don’t ship anything or render service until the E-Check has cleared. An E-check is just like a traditional check. It takes about 3-5 business days to clear. The amount of that E-check will show a pending status and will not change to paid until the funds are available and visible in your PayPal account.
  6. Open a Second or Third PayPal account. This is not a feature but something I would advise to those who are selling services or products on eBay. PayPal was purchased by eBay a few years ago because PayPal was the number one way most eBay sellers and buyers did commerce. Selling on eBay is a wonderful thing but can turn ugly if a person who makes a purchase from you disputes the charge or is unhappy with the condition of the item purchased. Now that PayPal and eBay are owned by the same company, PayPal/eBay have every right to freeze your PayPal account until the dispute is settled.
    PayPal does this to protect against fraud. Having a second PayPal account can keep your eBay business flowing and keep your customers happy until your main PayPal account is back in good standing.
  7. Download and Install the PayPal Plugin. The PayPal Plugin is one of the newest and most security contentious feature PayPal has introduced. This plugin has two great qualities. The first is the ability for it to sense an ecommerce form on any chosen shopping cart checkout page. Once detected you have the option to auto fill all your PayPal information, cutting down the time that one has to take filling out forms to make a purchase with just the press of a button. The second quality allows you to create a randomly generated credit card number further enhancing the security of not giving out your real credit card number online.
  8. Place the PayPal Referral link on your blog or website. If you are like me and enjoy sharing great web 2.0 tools with your clients and friends. You wouldn’t mind getting compensated for letting people know how they can benefit from using PayPal. The Merchant Referral Bonus Program allows you to Earn up to $1,000.00 dollars for Each Referral.
    Sign up for PayPal and start accepting credit card payments instantly.
  9. Get a PayPal Security Key. This little device is PayPal’s answer to all the Phishing scams that are happening with the banking industry. You can get this device for Free if you have a Business Account. It will come in the mail from PayPal and is small enough to put on your key chain. All you have to do is press the button on the front of the device to get a randomly generate six digit number that is exclusive to your PayPal account. This just gives you another layer of protection against those who are always trying to get at your account information.
  10. Get the PayPal Virtual Terminal. The PayPal Virtual Terminal is the ultimate way you can take your PayPal account on the road. If you are selling your products or services at events like trade shows or your own speaking engagements. The Virtual Terminal is like an online version of the credit card swipe machines used in stores. As long as you have an internet connection via your laptop and Wifi or access via smart phones like the Apple I-Phone you can take credit card orders and get them processed within minutes.
    These are just a few of the tips I have learned over the years using PayPal. Please make some comments on some of the many tips you have learned in using PayPal or comment on how some of the 10 tips I shared have helped your business.

All the best