TO PAYPAL OR NOT TO PAYPAL: Few financial entities receive the degree of scorn that Paypal does. Marathon man writes:
When churning and manufacturing spend, PayPal should be a last resort.
The company routinely freezes funds for 21 days if it thinks there’s a fraud risk, and its terms give it the right to extend the freeze for up to 180 days. To get access to their money, users are often asked asked to provide the kind of documentation that a product seller would have, like several months’ worth of sales records. But if you’re churning, running a fundraiser, or selling tickets to an upcoming conference, you don’t have that paperwork.
In stores, there have been cases of cards not activated correctly, even though the receipt says the card is activated with the correct amount. Both PayPal and the card admin, INCOMM, are nightmares to contact.
…You’ve got to be careful with PayPal and DO NOT try this if you can’t afford to be without the money you load in your PayPal account should PayPal decide to suspend your account!
PayPal is sensitive to churning activity so, some people try to mix in other transactions, such as bill payment and payment transfers to people who they owe money. In the end, this won’t work as PayPal can see through this to the crux, large movements of money from credit card through store, through PayPal, through Bank Account, rinse, repeat.
I avoid PayPal precisely because I’ve read a lot of opinions along these lines. There is a contrarian, though, and that is Miles Professor. Lest you forget, she won the Mile Madness challenge and Paypal was part of her routine. She writes:
The point is to continue to use your Paypal account the way a normal professional, college student or stay at home mom would. They make purchases, get involved in routine transactions and don’t withdraw money instantaneously. This actually applies to most prepaid cards and accounts, not just Paypal. It’s good advice whether you’re using a My Vanilla Debit, AccountNow, GoBank, etc. Bluebird is probably the one exception in that you can pretty much pay your bills immediately after loading your funds. While I haven’t had issues with Paypal as of yet, I am no stranger to having an account frozen (well, this only happened once with MyVanillaDebit) and it’s always because I did something against the above advice. I understand that not everyone has the luxury of having thousands of dollars of Kiva transactions every month to mix in with Paypal, but I can only share my own experience and what I’ve done to make things run smoothly.
For some people, the right thing may be to avoid Paypal altogether and they’ll have better peace of mind doing so. But for me, I like living on the edge! Only joking… for me, the small risk I’ve outlined above is worth the 5% cash back at drugstores when I can efficiently pick up Paypal My Cash cards on my walk home!
If you’re curious, she gives some sensible advice for anybody using Paypal.
$50 FROM BLUEBIRD?: As per Running with Miles, some of you may be eligible for $50 from Bluebird if you do a couple of direct deposits. Check your inbox.
THE OVERLY HYPED AMEX DAILY GETAWAYS: Every year Amex offers some travel packages that let you buy points at a mild discount. I’ve never seen any screaming hot deals, but then I don’t travel as much as other folks do. I don’t see anything interesting this year, though one possible exception for those of you with car rental needs would be the Hertz package. There is a nice write-up on this one from Bengali Miles Guru, plus some good info on working the Hertz program, so check it out.
THIS IS WHAT $28 MILLION GETS YOU: Here’s a $28 million Popeye statue recently purchased by casino magnate Steve Wynn, on whom the Terry Benedict character in “Ocean’s Eleven” was loosely based. I can’t imagine ever being in a state of mind where I absolutely had to possess a Popeye statue and I’d be willing to pay $28 million for it, but I guess that’s why Wynn’s a billionaire and I’m not.