I opened my PayPal account in 2000. I've had all of two run-ins with their risk/compliance departments in 10 years. I've helped a business associate successfully negotiate the release of $200K in held funds. I'm a PayPal Certified Developer. I know what I'm talking about when it comes to PayPal.
I'm a bit numb from seeing all the misinformation on this board regarding PayPal. Yes, I understand that everyone has their own personal dealings with them, BUT (and this is by no fault of anyone outside of lack of due diligence, on their part).. the reality is that PayPal operates by a set standard of rules.
Granted, it isn't easy for the average online entrepreneur to track down and understand these rules; (much less implement them correctly). Yet, the fact of matter is that it is essential for you to implement these rules into your business model OR you will run into problems.
To that extent, (although I can not guarantee any specific results by you following my leads documented in this post), I decided to put this short but informative post together so that it could be referenced by those NOT wanting to follow misguided, jaded and rhetorical misinformation.
1) The following is a link to a guide published BY PayPal for Digital Goods merchants; (on how to set up best practices when conducting business through the PayPal system).
2) The following is a link to a PayPal page, (on their site), specifically geared towards the benefits to Digital Goods sellers of using PayPal as their transaction system.
3) This is a link to an essential part of your PayPal account set up. A link to a page from a free online book; (inappropriately named IMHO); called PayPal Hacks on how to set up your Payment Receiving Preferences.
If you're serious about your business; (which I'm sure you are); then this section in your PayPal account will help minimize your possibilities of running into fraudulent transactions that result in PayPal coming down on you.
Set Your Payment Receiving Preferences / PayPal Hacks. 100 Industrial-Strength Tips and Tools
4) It is also essential that you do not cut any corners when it comes to identifying yourself to PayPal. Correct and verified phone numbers, (land line and mobile), addresses (home and business), email addresses... all play a part in the PayPal review process should your account come across the desk of a Risk Manager.
Any of this information out of place can cause immediate shut downs. Any of this information not easily accessible can (and probably will) cause immediate shut downs and/or limitations.
You have to take into consideration the sheer magnitude of the workload their Risk Managers have to deal with on a daily basis. IF verifying your information takes them outside of their "checks and balance" routine, they're not going to (nor will they be willing to) take the time to double check it and/or spend any time looking for it. They'll just hit the shut'em down switch and move on to their next pending case.
Full Disclosure people. There are NO exceptions. OH, and (unfortunately for you non-Americans) if your business is NOT located in the U.S.; bet your bottom dollar that your verification is 10x more important.
5) Stay in contact with PayPal at all times! I can't stress this enough. Far too many people become complacent in thinking its OK to never contact PayPal unless something has gone wrong. This is a mistake; plain and simple.
Would you never talk to your accountant unless there was a problem? Your bank? Your Doctor? Preventive Maintenance is KEY. Trust me on this.
6) When in doubt, go to the source. Period.
compliance [at] paypal [dot] com
Remember it. Use it.
I sincerely hope this helps those who are savvy enough to consider doing business through PayPal. Unless you're doing a minimum of $10K a month consistently; there is ABSOLUTELY NO REASON for you to consider the extra expense of a merchant account; (I've been there too -- I know).
Also, even when you're considering a merchant account; (and this shows how diligent they are); use PayPal. PayPal Payments Pro charges you a measly $20 per month for their merchant account set up AND you can suspend the monthly fee when you don't need the added volume protection.
Peace, Love & Prosperity (people)
Disclaimer: By no means is this post intended to be, nor should you consider it to be, legal and/or accounting advice. You should always consult a professional Lawyer and/or Accountant in regards to your business operations. The intent of this post is purely for educational purposes.