Using PayPal When Selling Overseas

Q: "How do I accept payments in different currencies when I sell internationally?"

A: Log in to your PayPal account and go into the Profile area. It's available under the My Account tab, which is the default immediately after logging in. In the Financial Information section, there's a Currency Balances link. In addition to U.S. dollars, there are fifteen other currencies that you're able to toggle on or off, based on your preferences.

If you are carrying different currency balances, you will see a total U.S. dollar balance based on the amount you'd get if you opted to convert your funds completely to U.S. dollars at that time. You can convert other currencies to U.S. dollars within your PayPal account or prior to withdrawal. The conversion rate will be quoted to you, which includes a 2.5 percent spread to determine the retail foreign exchange rate. You will be given the option to convert at this rate or to decline and hold your existing balance in the other currency/currencies.

Q: "I understand PayPal accepts only certain currencies. What if I wish to do business in another currency?"

A: At the time this book is going to press, you can use your current PayPal account to make or accept payments in:

• Canadian dollars

• Euros

• Pounds sterling

• U.S. dollars

• Yen

• Australian dollars

• New Zealand dollars

• Swiss francs

• Hong Kong dollars

• Singapore dollars

• Swedish kronor

• Danish kroner

• Polish zloty

• Norwegian kroner

• Hungarian forint

• Czech koruna

If you are doing business in any other currency, you cannot do business on PayPal.

Q: "I understand that you have to have a U.S. bank account to use PayPal. Is that true?"

A: If you are doing business in a country where PayPal has a localized site, you can maintain your bank account with a bank in that country. At the time this is going to press, those countries are:

• Australia

• Austria

• Belgium

• Canada

• China

• France

• Germany

• Italy

• Netherlands

• Poland

• Spain

• Switzerland

• United Kingdom

• United States

In any other country, you will need to maintain a U.S. bank account.

Q: "I have a business with operations in several different countries. I want to use PayPal for all my eBay selling worldwide, but I understand PayPal has certain restrictions on what you can and cannot do on PayPal in each country. Where can I find out more about that?"

A: Go to the home page, and click on "Learn more about PayPal worldwide." You will see a page called PayPal Offerings Worldwide. Choose your country from PayPal's list, click Enter, and you will see a page showing any restrictions on PayPal activity in that country.

Resolving Seller-Buyer Disputes on PayPal

Q: "I'm currently in a dispute with a buyer. I want to submit the dispute to PayPal's online mediation service, but I've been told not to bother because PayPal always takes the buyer's side. Is this true?"

A: If PayPal was used to make payment for an item on eBay and the seller and buyer get into a dispute, you can elect to have the dispute mediated by PayPal's online dispute resolution system. To find this, go to, click on the Security Center link, then click on the Resolution Center link, and follow the prompts.

Keep in mind that this is a mediation system, not an arbitration system. PayPal is not going to listen to all the evidence, like Judge Judy, and then rule in one party's favor over the other. What PayPal does is ask you and your buyer a series of questions in an attempt to broker a settlement agreement between the two of you. Once you and your buyer have reached agreement on how to resolve the dispute, and either a full or partial refund is due to the buyer, PayPal will automatically debit your PayPal account and credit the buyer's.

One cannot say with absolute certainty that PayPal "always resolves disputes in favor of the buyer." However, in extremely close situations, where the facts do not clearly favor one side over the other, PayPal's mediation service (like eBay's own, to be fair) does tend to lean toward the buyer's side. There are two reasons for this:

• First, "the customer is always right." It is vital to eBay's and PayPal's success that buyers have trust and confidence in the system, and if a dispute is really too close to call, your conduct and behavior have probably contributed at least somewhat to the problem.

• Second, PayPal does not have the resources to let disputes drag on interminably while the parties go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. At some point a resolution must be reached so that the parties (and PayPal) can get on with their lives.

Keep in mind that any resolution of a dispute through PayPal's mediation system is nonbinding and cannot be used as evidence in a court of law. If you truly believe that a buyer has gotten away with something, and the amount involved is too big to just write off, you can always sue the buyer in small claims court in the state where the buyer resides or conducts business. For advice on how to do that, see Chapter 6 of my book The eBay Seller's Tax and Legal Answer Book.

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