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Julia Wilkinson AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

Julia Wilkinson is Editor of the AuctionBytes Blog and is author of the "eBay Price Guide," "eBay Top 100 Simplified Tips and Tricks," "My Life at AOL" and numerous ebooks about selling online. You can also find her writing on Yard Salers.
Sat Feb 28 2009 11:38:38

Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?

By: Ina Steiner
Sponsored Link
Some eBay sellers on a discussion board were questioning why PayPal was asking them to reveal passwords to their bank accounts. It certainly seemed like a valid concern, so I asked PayPal spokesperson Michael Oldenburg for more information.

Michael said PayPal does under some circumstances ask for that information if users want to instantly confirm their bank accounts. PayPal only asks that question - which is optional - when users are signed in to PayPal as a way to confirm a bank account instantly. Users may opt to use a different confirmation method that takes longer. Here's what he wrote in an email:

What the member referenced is our instant bank confirmation process. When members add a bank account to their PayPal accounts, we need to confirm that they are the owner of the account. There are two options to do this:

1) Random deposits - PayPal makes two small deposits to the member's bank account. The member then confirms the actual amount of these depots to let us know that they are the owner of the account. This process usually takes 2-3 days for the deposits to appear in the member's s bank account.

2) Instant bank confirmation - Using this option, members can confirm their account in minutes. It requires the member to type in his/her online banking username and password. PayPal then uses this data to validate ownership of the account. This instant process is relatively common today and is also used by many large financial institutions - such as Bank of America and eTrade - as a way of authenticating bank accounts.

It is important to know that during the instant process, PayPal does not save the member's online banking credentials. Also, instant bank confirmation is an optional process. Members can always elect to use the random deposit option if they prefer.

Given that PayPal, like other financial services, is a target of phishers, I'm not convinced it's a good idea to set a precedent for asking for someone's bank account password. Wouldn't it be better if the rule was, never give out your bank account password to anyone under any circumstances, no exceptions?

Michael explained that PayPal would never ask for such information in an email, nor would an agent ever ask for that. (So beware of phishing emails and phone calls.) He also pointed to a recent PayPal blog post that reminded users to update their Internet browsers to the latest version. PayPal has worked with Verisign's Extended Validation Certificate program so the latest browsers will glow green if you're really on the PayPal site, and will glow red if it believes you're on a spoof site.



This is feeling like cyber-security month, so remember - make sure you use up-to-date browsers and anti-virus software (preferably ones that keep themselves up-to-date automatically - check your settings), and be safe!





Comments (30) | Permalink
Readers Comments

Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?   Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?
This user has validated their user name. by: Bob
       
Sat Feb 28 12:09:52 2009
Be safe --- Stop using Paypal.
Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?   Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?
by: getem
       
Sat Feb 28 12:20:31 2009
Comedienne and CEO of Ebay, John Donahoe, said at the Goldman Sachs presentation said of Paypal, "Off-eBay it's really experiencing explosive growth around the world.  Becoming THE way to enable all ecommerce payments. Is on target to rule ecommerce."

Paypal will rule the world!!!!
Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?   Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?
by: Mr Obvious
       
Sat Feb 28 15:34:16 2009
Thanks for shining a bit of light onto this issue.

LOL. Yes, regardless of what the cheerleaders will try to tell you, PP does ask for bank passwords, and they have a history of doing so.

"nobody is this dumb we hope"
http://tinyurl.com/aucguw
http://preview.tinyurl.com/aucgu
w

BTW,
I do notice those very same people have been there on the PP board vigorously defending  PP's honor (LOL) for literally years. What's up with that?

PP also claimed they never sent out those emails in late Oct '08 which resembled phishing emails either. The ones that resulted/ were connected to delays/glitches with e-checks clearing.

How short must they think consumer's memories are?

Can they really be trusted? Can they be trusted to tell the truth, ever?

Users need to be on the lookout for new "glitches" right about now with the way things are going for them thus far this Q, especially after yesterday's performance. LOL

They have no real regulation, they are not a bank, they clearly believe they are above the law, so what is to stop them from flimflamming the users?

Once they have your bank PW, they have carte blanche, literally. I seriously doubt anyone's banker would advise giving anyone, especially PP, their PW.
Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?   Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?
by: ebay=penny stock
       
Sat Feb 28 18:23:20 2009
I can't believe that some people are so stupid as to give paypal or anyone else the password to their banking account.

What are you people thinking of.
Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?   Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?
by: eBuyer Feedback
       
Sat Feb 28 19:55:21 2009
You know who else asks for your password for other serivces?  Bonanzle

Seriously there is no reason anyone should require a password for anything.  PayPal doesn't require it but they need to seriously consider why they ask for it and can't use some private API instead.  I've never asked for anyone's eBay password yet I work just fine.
Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?   Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?
by: Patrick Alexander
       
Sat Feb 28 20:54:23 2009
Give your bank account password to PayPal ???

You would have to be a complete moron....

Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?   Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?
by: paypal is scum, too
       
Sun Mar 1 05:31:56 2009
Geez, even GEORGE CONSTANZA on SEINFELD knew enough NOT give your your password to ANYONE, unless it's a dying old lady...BOSCO bosco...
Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?   Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?
by: Nancy
       
Sun Mar 1 07:43:56 2009
I wouldn't give my password for PAY-PAL to pay-pal, why would I give them my BANK account password??

You don't NEED to confirm a bank account instantly. It only takes ONE day, for God's Sake.

If you HAVE an online password, log in, and wait til you see the transaction at the bank, and confirm it manually. Better yet, CALL your bank, they will give you that info.

I wouldn't give out my passwords to ANYBODY, EVER. NOT MY MOTHER. Okay??? Are you running a business or playing a game? NEVER, EVER. Just don't do it.

BTW, in case anyone doesn't realize it, there's a HUGE problem at pay-pal right now, if you look (and have lots of transactions) at the history, all activity.

You can't get more than 2-3 days worth. This has been going on for over a WEEK now, and they can't figure out how to fix it.

I've been mulling over taking EVERYTHING out of pay-pal for some time now, considering the answers I get to questions, when dealing with a problem. There are people there answering the phones for business accounts that sound like they are 19 years old, and sound like they haven't the faintest idea of how their own SITE works.

I have merchants whose charges go it twice, at the very same SECOND, and then those phony charges COMPLETE. You'd think pay-pal would fix this without being asked, I get the funny feeling that it's THEIR glitch, not the merchants'.

So I get to MAIL IN a dispute. And PAY-PAL gets the hold the money for up to 45 days.... HMM..

Yet another glitch that makes money for them and not me?? What a COINCIDENCE.

So we have a billion dollar bank who can't make their site work, uses 19 year olds for customer service who are untrained....

And about half the time I speak to someone in a FOREIGN COUNTRY who barely understands English.

Yep, taking my money out is sounding better and better. I can always send it back up if I need to.

I seriously think they need to understand that SOME of their customers have IQ's over 100, and TRAIN these goof-balls better before they are allowed to answer a phone. And cut OFF the Indian, and Chinese Customer service already. Haven't they heard?? There's tons of unemployed people who'd LOVE to get a nice desk job.
Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?   Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?
by: o.c.d.collectibles
       
Sun Mar 1 10:25:47 2009
LOL! Wait till all the credit card companies go under! Cash will be KING!I was seriously thinking of taking everything out of investments at my workplace, and at home, then lock it up in a safety deposit box. It will gain more value that way, than leaving it in..
Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?   Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?
by: Bob H.
       
Sun Mar 1 10:45:26 2009
@ eBuyer Feedback

Bonanzle asks for your eBay password ONLY when you've decided to import your eBay items and feedback into Bonanzle, so that you can DUMP eBay.

Bonanzle does NOT ask you for your PayPal password or any other account where there's money involved.
Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?   Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?
by: Nancy
       
Sun Mar 1 11:01:53 2009
By the way, Good People.....

PAY OFF EVERY credit card as fast as you can!!!!

I cannot emphasize enough how bad it's gonna get.

Yesterday, I got notice from TWO of my credit cards (YES I pay them all oin time) that my interest rate is going up, WAY UP.

Of course, I can ''opt out'' of this, but they cancel the card, and I have to pay it off. Thank GOD I get the Dolans financial letters in my e-mail, and was fore-warned that this would happen, so my balance can be paid off within two months easily.

These CREEPS (and I can think of WAY better words for them) are trying to get us ''pay on time-ers'' to pay for all the deadbeats and just-lost-my-job people.

While I feel badly for those folks, I absolutely am NOT paying extra to cover their debts.

Isn't that why I pay taxes?? To pay off debts from deadbeats? And to pay for bonuses for ex-CEOS of companies that caused this mess?

So PAY those cards, as fast as you can.

And I just checked pay-pal, history today goes to 2/26 and then NOTHING....
And this is a BILLION dollar ''bank''.

So away I go to transfer transfer transfer.

I'm sick of letting little kids take care of my money.

And @o.c.d.collectibles  LOTS of us ALREADY have safes, and use them. And we check out banks out weekly at http://www.bankrate.com/brm/safesound/ss_home.asp

MANY of the small local banks are excellent risks, so don't be too hasty.
But you should check, you might be REALLY surprised....
Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?   Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?
by: Patrick Alexander
       
Sun Mar 1 11:41:42 2009
I had to come back & comment on this again...

Anyone that has your bank password can snoop unfettered in your account to their heart's content. As well as make highly destructive changes.

And people actually give this P/W to a company with probably a couple thousand unbonded employees. One that has had multiple known (and probably many unknown) security issues???

It's beyond bizarre....

PS: And please remember: PayPal IS NOT a bank...
Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?   Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?
by: nora
       
Sun Mar 1 12:49:20 2009
Here's a nice little story on the topic of Paypal

Driver Fills up Gas Tank, Receives Bill For $81 Billion
Posted by Samuel R. Avro on Friday, February 27, 2009


''Did you get the gas?'' asked the debit card customer service representative, as if he had to prove didn't pump $81,400,836,908 in gas!
Talk about skyrocketing gas prices! One man from Richland, Washington was in for the shock of his life when he filled up the gas tank of his ‘94 Chevy Camaro.
When Juan Zamora stopped to refuel his car at a Conoco service station in Richland, the gas pump’s calculator registered a total fee of $26.

But in a freak computer hiccup, the PayPal debit card he used recorded the transaction as $81,400,836,908. Yes, you read that correctly, that’s more than 81 billion dollars.

“That’s a B, as in billions!” Zamora told the Tri-City Herald.

Zamora says that he always refuels at the same gas station during his weekly commute.

He only learned of the astounding figure when he received an email later that afternoon informing him that his debit card, which started out with $90 on it, was maxed out.

Initially, Mr. Zamora thought it must’ve been a joke. But after contacting PayPal customer service he was surprised to see that the company treated it as anything but a laughing matter.

“Somebody from a foreign country who spoke in broken English argued with me for 10 to 15 minutes,” Zamora said. ” ‘Did you get the gas?’ he asked. Like I had to prove that I didn’t pump $81,400,836,908 in gas!”

He would have needed more than 3 billion fill-ups of the amount he actually pumped into his tank in order to reach that outrageous sum.


Eventually, Zamora said, he was finally able to convince the representative that he didn’t deserve to be in the same position as General Motors, who has lost roughly 80 billion dollars since 2005.

When Zamora returned to the Conoco gas station, he said, the attendant would not believe him until he showed her the printout of the PayPal receipt.

The exact cause of the error is still unknown.

As always, there’s a lesson to be learned. “I guess the moral of this story is ‘pay cash,’ ” Zamora said.

http://www.consumerenergyreport.com/2009/02/27/driver-fills-up
-gas-tank-receives-bill-for-86-billion/
Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?   Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?
by: Tim
       
Sun Mar 1 14:36:01 2009
@Nancy

''These CREEPS (and I can think of WAY better words for them) are trying to get us ''pay on time-ers'' to pay for all the deadbeats and just-lost-my-job people.''

No Nancy, that's wrong. It's happening to EVERYONE, including those who CAN'T pay off their CC accounts because they have too much on them. We also received letters from several CC companies that they are raising the interest rate on our cards, and we never miss a payment, and try to make at least 2X the minimum payment. But that's obviously not good enough. In these tough times, when people are barely making ends meet, these SCUMBAGS (good enough word for you?) are raising the rates on everyone. Yes, we can ''opt out'' of the interest hike, but as you said, opting out, means ''pay it off in full now'', and they know damn well you can't. While it may be my fault I have too much on my cards, as do many, because of circumstances, I see no reason why these SCUMBAGS have to choke us even harder. If the plan is to make more money, I don't see how they're going to get it from people who have lost jobs, or have had incomes reduced.

There SHOULD be a law against this. This is 100% the opposite of what should be happening. The banks are creating their own situation to have people default on their cards, just like they defaulted on their mortgages.

I'll say it again, the bank(s) and financial companies that hold my cards that are raising my interest rates for NO reason are SCUMBAGS.
Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?   Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?
by: @nora
       
Sun Mar 1 15:37:29 2009
or don't use conoco to get your gas.
Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?   Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?
This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless
       
Sun Mar 1 16:02:22 2009
@ Tim

Here's a prime example of how the Wall Street, corporate CEOs, and bankers think.

The feds just bailed out Capital One with taxpayer dollars. Capital One is currently sending letters telling customers that once again the terms of their card have changed due to "economic conditions," and some card holders/taxpayers will now be charged as much as 32% APR.

Twenty-five years ago anyone charging 32% APR would be in prison for violation of the usury laws. But interest rates have crept up as the banks contributed more and more to members of Congress and Senate.

The card companies deliberately handed out credit cards to those with either no credit or bad credit with their end game being to justify profitably raising APRs as often as they wanted to.

Call Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and tell them to restore the federal usury laws and that credit car APRs should be no more than 2 to 2.5 points higher than the prime for the WORST credit risks.

And someone on these blogs said not too long ago that politics plays no role in business. ROTFL!

NEG MEG (Whitman) in 2010.
Death to ebay corp. in 2009.
Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?   Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?
by: eBuyer Feedback
       
Sun Mar 1 20:04:48 2009
@ Bob H.

But Bonanzle doesn't need to know your eBay password to do either of those functions.  They just took the easy way out and put all their users at unnecessary risk.  My argument is they can do it without requesting your password just like my site can.  I offered to help them do just that but got no response.
Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?   Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?
by: NoMoPayPal
       
Mon Mar 2 08:45:13 2009
After a chargeback nightmare in which a buyer purchased a brand new item, returned a used, broken item, then filed a SNAD which PP denied, the buyer filed a chargeback based on unauthorized transaction. PP froze my account for 97 days while they investigated and fought the chargeback on my behalf. 97 days! It wiped out my business. I immediately contacted my bank and rescinded any ACH for PP and locked them from accessing my account. Ultimately I won but I'm getting a merchant account.  PP destroyed me.
Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?   Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?
by: Tigger
       
Mon Mar 2 08:55:55 2009
I've had the same credit card since 1994 and the same rate.  Even if payments are late, which they infrequently are, they have never raised my rate.  That's not to say they might change their policy in the future, but 15 years is a pretty good record.  It's through my credit union, and I'm grateful for it.  Even though interest rates are at historic lows, and banks are receiving billions in handouts from us (aka Government), they have the audacity to hike interest rates? How much interest are they paying on these bailouts?
Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?   Does PayPal Really Ask for Bank Account Passwords?
by: bonanzle
       
Mon Mar 2 12:59:30 2009
I can change my Ebay password in 10 seconds after transferring items to Bonanzle, not as easy or safe for a bank card
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