Payment Gateways

Published on March 11th, 2013 | by Mark

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PayPal

A global e-commerce platform that allows you to make payments and transfer money securely through the internet.

Step Right In

You can sign up for PayPal as a personal user or as a business.  The latter requests more personal information such as your business name, address, and type of business.

When signing up as a personal user, you will need to input an email address, a password, first and last name, your mailing address, mobile phone number and credit card information.

The extra information is needed for PayPal to provide you with its services and the phone number is used just in case there’s a problem with your account or any transactions you have made.

There are some restriction to choosing a password for PayPal.  The password must be between eight and 20 characters long and be a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numerals and other symbols.  The password cannot be the same as your name or email address.  PayPal helpfully provides you with a three-stage indicator showing you the relative strength of your password against their criteria; Paypal ticks off the criteria that has been met.

PayPal’s Got Your Back

Paypal uses very stringent safety protocols to protect its users from fraud or theft of information.  It automatically encrypts any confidential information being transmitted from your computer to Paypal’s servers using the Secure Sockets Layer protocol (SSL) with an encryption key length of 128-bits.  Before you register or log in to the PayPal site, their server checks that you’re using an approved browser – one that uses SSL 3.0 or higher to ensure you benefit from the highest level of security available.

Paypal users can register for a security key that provides additional security to their account.  The PayPal Security Key creates random temporary security codes that help safeguard your PayPal account when you log in.  There are two types of security keys:

  1. Security key: This is a small credit-card sized device you can carry with you and creates a unique security code on the go. The credit-card size PayPal Security Key costs $29.95, and there is no monthly service fee or additional cost. Replacement keys are the same price.
  2. Mobile phone security key: You can sign up to get security codes sent by text message to your mobile phone. There is no fee to use your mobile phone as your PayPal Security Key, however standard text messaging rates apply when you receive a security code by SMS.

Safety is Your Best Pal

Security settings on Paypal are all available from the user’s profile, although they are spread out in different sections.  To access and change these settings, log in to your PayPal account and click on ‘Profile’ in the menu under the ‘My Account’ tab.  Simply hovering your pointer on ‘Profile’ also reveals a menu with shortcuts to edit most settings.

In the ‘My Profile’ page, you can change your personal information, including email address, mobile phone number, password and security questions.  In the ‘My Settings’ page you can change automatic login and checkout settings for your mobile devices and in the ‘My Money’ page you can edit your bank and credit cards’ information.

Who’s Telling On You?

To open a PayPal account or use the PayPal Services, you must provide your name, address, phone number, and email address and in order to make payments through the PayPal Services, you must also provide credit card, debit card or bank account information.

This information is used by PayPal to process transactions, provide security services and for administering your account.  PayPal does not sell or rent your personal information to third parties for their marketing purposes without your explicit consent.

However to offer its services to users and improve the quality of service, from time to time PayPal may have to disclose some personal information with third parties under strict restrictions.

Parting Ways

To close down your PayPal account for good there are a few steps you need to do.  First log in to your account and ensure that there are no pending transactions to be made before closing your account.  Click on the ‘Profile’ link under the the ‘My Account’ tab and select ‘My Settings’ on the My Profile page.  In the ‘Account Information’ area click on Close Account.

A verification page will appear which requires you to input certain data that confirms you’re the owner of the account, such as password and credit card number.  When this process is done, click on ‘Close account’ to delete your PayPal account permanently.

Hacker Attacks

There have been a number of reports of PayPal being targeted by hackers seeking to get users’ credit card numbers or to effect illicit transactions.  In November 2008, internet hacking group Anonymous claimed to have hacked the passwords to 28,000 accounts, however PayPal rebutted this claim, saying that it found no evidence that the attack had been successful.

PayPal And Friends

Although PayPal integrates with many applications and websites, there are no third party applications that connect with your PayPal account.  However users should be careful when sharing data or sending money to third party websites since PayPal does not assure the integrity of the online merchants that use its service.

Checking On Your Data

On logging in to your account, you are presented with a list of all the recent activity and transactions that have been carried out through your account.  Currently, PayPal does not provide its users with more specific tools to track down how secure their information is and where it is being accessed.

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