You can’t shop on eBay without noticing the preference for paying with PayPal. Thankfully, we’ll show you a trick to buy on eBay without ever using PayPal. Almost every seller accepts PayPal for payment, and eBay promotes special offers available only when you use it. That’s great for most people bidding and shopping at the site, but what if you do not have a PayPal account? Let’s take a few minutes to look at how you can pay a seller on eBay without one.
A Match Made in Heaven
When eBay met PayPal way back at the start of the 21st century, it was love at first sight. America’s most popular auction site needed an efficient and yet safe way for its buyers and sellers to transact. Many buyers were uncomfortable sharing their credit card information with an unknown eBay seller and neither side enjoyed the relative uncertainty and time added to the transaction when paying by money order or personal check (and waiting for payment to clear).
PayPal offered a way to do that which did not require the exchange of personal credit card information or the time it takes to send, receive, and process a check or money order. Both seller and buyer entered banking and credit or debit card information securely at the PayPal account portal. Then, PayPal verifies the bank accounts are yours before allowing you to use their account to make payments. Sellers usually only send items purchased to the address registered in the PayPal account, another step making sure only the verified PayPal user is making a purchase.
The two entities found each other so mutually attractive that in 2002, eBay purchased PayPal (and kept it until 2015). That is when eBay began to strongly push – and eventually required – all sellers to accept PayPal for purchases alongside any other payment methods listed. After some initial discomfort and resistance, it seemed only natural that the preferred method of payment on a site where neither buyer or seller has any way of knowing one another should be one that allows practically anonymous parties to interact in financial transactions securely, and PayPal fit that need perfectly.
Almost Everybody Has One
Soon it was possible to use PayPal to make purchases on a lot of online retailers’ sites. That made buying from new and lesser known vendors feel safer to consumers. Plus, if two parties both have a PayPal account, all you need to do is exchange email addresses if you want to send money to one or the other instantly. When you want to put that money in your bank account, PayPal does it for free, usually in a single business day. That’s why almost everybody has a PayPal account today.
And yet, there will be times when PayPal is not the preferred method of choice even for those with an account. Let’s look at some of the reasons a person might want to shop on eBay without using PayPal.
Account Issues with PayPal
If your PayPal account is in a state of restriction, you may not be able to use it. It didn’t go that far, but I had my PayPal account come under threat of suspension for something I had nothing to do with at all. It was after attempting to apply for a PayPal debit card. The application was 90% done when I was returned to the home screen. I tried to complete the application again only to have the same thing happen. I gave up and went about my day, thinking I’d try again later.
Later the same day there was an email in my inbox telling me that because I did not provide updated credit card information (huh?) my account would be suspended in a number of days (can’t recall what that number was). I went into my PayPal account and saw the warning there, and so knew it was real. I contacted PayPal by phone, but the first time did not seem to work. I gave it a few days, the warning was still there, and now it was down to just a couple of days before the account would be suspended. I called again and that time the warning was removed within an hour, with a follow-up email telling me it was done.
I put all that out there just to explain how there can be times when your PayPal account gets hung up and it’s not your fault at all. If you find something you want to buy on eBay before the misunderstanding can be corrected with PayPal, you would need another way to pay.
Can’t Get a PayPal Account
There is a misconception out there that there will be reasons you cannot have a PayPal account. That’s really not true unless you have abused a PayPal account. You do not have to have a checking account to be a PayPal member. That’s something a lot of people think is a requirement but it is not factual. Linking a checking account gives you more options for paying and allows you to transfer funds into your bank account when you receive a payment into PayPal, but you can have an account without one. Also, some people think you have to have at least fair-to-middling credit to get one, but that’s also inaccurate. PayPal does not run a credit check on applicants at all. If these misunderstandings have prevented you from opening a PayPal account, now you know that you can get one.
However, if you have had a problem with PayPal that keeps you from having an account with them that you can use to make payments on eBay, you will definitely want to know how to shop on eBay without one until the issues with PayPal can be resolved.
Don’t Want a PayPal Account
There may be reasons you simply do not want a PayPal account. Even though it makes it easier to shop without giving your credit card or bank account information to anyone but PayPal, you may not want to share all of that with anyone online at anytime, including PayPal.
eBay without PayPal
Whichever of the above reasons you want to shop on eBay without using PayPal, there are a few options open to you. Some are highly restricted to certain categories of items; all depend on the seller’s willingness to accept them. We will begin with the easiest and most common payment methods working through to the least available.
Credit or Debit Card
The most convenient way to pay is probably with your debit or credit card. In the photo above, you can see the credit card icons indicating that this seller does accept these cards. Just go to the payment screen and choose to pay by credit or debit card.
In the fine print it says, “Credit Cards processed by PayPal.” If you have a PayPal account in an inactive or suspended status as discussed previously, do not let this concern you. There is no need for an active PayPal account. You will enter your credit card information separately from any PayPal login.
If you do not want to share your personal information with PayPal or with any online source at all, the eBay gift card is the way to go. You can find one at Walgreens, Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Staples, and in most grocery stores. When you are ready to pay for a purchase on eBay, go to the payment screen as usual and enter the gift card information just as you would if you were using your credit or debit card.
Check, Money Order or Bank Transfer
As I shared earlier, there was a time when eBay sellers had to wait on a check or money order to arrive in the mail, and then the buyer had to wait for the payment to clear into the seller’s bank account (and sometimes a set number of days beyond that). Only when the seller was sure the funds were securely in their bank account would the item be shipped to its new owner.
You might imagine how tedious that would be, which means you can understand why eBay now limits these payments to certain categories. If you are buying a $200 collectible comic book, eBay requires you to use an instant payment source like a credit, debit, or gift card. Only for particular purchases will a payment via check, money order, or bank transfer be allowed.
For the most part, those exceptions are purchases made at eBay Motors and in the Business and Industrial categories; also, Real Estate, Wholesale Bullion (gold, silver, platinum, etc.), and “Adults Only” items can be purchased with these instruments.
It is certainly possible to buy on eBay without using PayPal. It only makes sense that eBay isn’t going to cut off everyone that doesn’t want a PayPal account from their business. One thing to consider, though, is that eBay is pretty much made for PayPal. Sellers are required to accept it, and eBay has an agreement with PayPal to provide extra buyer protections when the coin of the realm is used. That is why it is probably best to use PayPal for your eBay shopping if you can. Thanks for reading!