PayPal for milepointers: issues and how to manage them

Discussion in 'Kiva | Loans That Change Lives' started by jbcarioca, Oct 9, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Because we must use PayPal to make Kiva payments several of us have been receiving intense instruction in dealing with life using PayPal while being a Frequent international/domestic traveler.

    I have had several such issues and continue to have them, but I have learned how to correct their mistakes fairly quickly. This thread is all about how to deal with PayPal issues. It could have been in another forum, but it seems most of us only use PayPal for Kiva payments.
     
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  2. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    The first thing to do is notify PayPal that you intend to travel. They are set up to deal with only vacation travel most defintiely not people who travel for work, so this will help, but will not solve all problems. Hint: you can add countries ad nauseum (I list about a dozen) and you can show you're traveling for a year or more (My settings are expiring in October 2012).

    Go to:
    My Account>Profile>More Options>My Settings>Travel Plans

    Once you make an update there PayPal sends you an email confirmation within minutes.
     
  3. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    After you set up your travel plans all will be well until you actually try to use your PayPal account actively in, say, China or Russia or...

    Then PayPal's risk algorithms have a serious hissy fit and deem you to be a risk, so they freeze your account:mad::(

    That happens to me every two months or so, always when I am busiest. PayPal calls this freeze "access limitation" which means they will take your money but you cannot get it out! If you send them an emial asking about it they send you this email in return:

    "PayPal is constantly working to ensure security by regularly screening
    the accounts in our system. We recently reviewed your account and need
    more information to help us provide you with secure service. Until we
    can collect this information, your access to sensitive account features
    will be limited.

    To return your account to regular standing, please complete the
    checklist items indicated when you login to your account and click on
    the link provided on the "Account Overview" page.

    The link will appear as: "Your account access is limited: Click here for
    Details."

    Once you complete all of the checklist items, our Account Review team
    will review your case and send you an email with the outcome of the
    review. Cases are reviewed in the order they are received.

    We regret any inconvenience, and we would like to restore your access as
    soon as possible.

    Please do not respond to this email, as responses to this message will
    not be answered.

    Sincerely,

    PayPal Account Review Team"

    Of course when you are traveling you cannot access anthing from your home telephone, and taht is what they demand. The solution is to provide them with endless information, and call, do not email, and be prepared for a moderately long wait. You will need the following:
    1. Your linked bank account number;
    2. Your linked credit card number;
    3. All the answers to security questions;
    4. Your most recent transactions including amount and source/payee
    5. Above all, calmness and patience. Just remember that very, very few PayPal customers travel at all and fewer still make large transactions. They will not easily understand why you routinely fly between continents so be very gentle with them.

    Once you've done that a few times it becomes routine. They did it to me four times this week leading up to the Money Bomb.
    If you do recurrent transactions to the same payee vary the amounts for each transaction. Their algorithm hates even numbers!

    When they reverse a transaction even though they indisputably have your money, as eventually they will, the procedure is slightly different. When you call ask for the fraud people, don't even bother to discuss it with anybody else. Once you have one of them explain the situation is very calm, very simple, very clear words. Usually they will conduct yet another limitation review (you probably have your account numbers memorized by now) but it will be fast. The limitation release will be complete in minutes.

    Finally, do not expect this problem to be solved. It will not be. They like it this way. "It is for your own protection". Be very very careful because their process is so primitive that it can be easily scammed. Watch your account very closely because they are totally clueless about international travel and mistake bureaucracy for security.
     
  4. canucklehead
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    canucklehead Gold Member

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    I have had a couple of issues where my credit card company has placed a hold on my account when using PayPal at times when they do not think I should be accessing my account. For example, I placed a Skype payment and a Kiva loan at 1am EST and a flag was made. When my cc called me they said it looks suspicious as one payment went to Netherlands (Skype) and the other went to the US, and neither looked like my normal purchase pattern.

    Some of the issues with credit card use on PayPal can also be attributed to the credit card company thinking things are dodgy!
     
  5. Gargoyle
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    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

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    I use my paypal account for business purposes, and to keep my accounting clean I need to avoid using it for any personal activities. Therefore I use a separate e-mail address, and always use the direct credit card payment via paypal for the personal stuff. I also make sure the credit card and e-mail I use for that is not linked to my actual paypal account, or they will try to force the payments into the account.

    They make it difficult to pay directly and not via an account, because it is much less profitable for paypal, but you can always work through it if you look closely for the links.
    ____________________________________________

    paypal-cc.png
     
  6. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Good points, Gargoyle!

    Keep in mind that they issues described above will still happen if you use a credit card as a guest, but you'll just have a spontaneous rejection. Their algorithm will detect any card that is registered in connection with a PayPal account. The solution to that is to use a credit card not connected to your account.
     
  7. giblet
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    giblet Silver Member

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    I have also found that not logging in results in less account blockages (because I always login outside the US).
     
  8. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    New developments with PayPal:
    I was informed today that my latest freeze could not be reversed. Despite a courteous agent who assured me that my transaction was obviously OK, because it originated outside the US in an area they show as high risk (Malaysia) they are unable to clear the system so I can use my account. Thus I cannot use the funds i have there until I am in an area PayPal will accept, but they cannot tell me where that might be. The matter is being escalated to their fraud department to release the account (this is the seventh time for that step) but it seems even that might not work.

    The polite agent also explained that I would not be able to use a credit card and not sign in because the PayPal system recognizes my identity coming from Kiva, even though they will not allow me to use my own money to make my standard purchases.

    This has become impossible to stand.

    I do not know if it is Kafka or Heller who is managing fraud risk at PayPal but I am fairly certain it is one or the other doing this from his grave, maniacal laughter ensuing...
     
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  9. unavaca
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    unavaca Gold Member

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    If you're a frequent traveler and you have VPN access back to your company or organization in the US, I strongly recommend that you VPN back before you try to access your PayPal account.

    By doing this, it'll look like you're still in the US and reduce the change that you're flagged for fraud or account hijacking.

    /former-fraud-prevention-guy
     
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  10. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    I have used VPN often to reduce these problems. That is no longer solving these issues. If the last agent knew what he was saying apparently my volumes are also causing automatic freezes.

    I too work in fraud prevention and credit risk for financial transaction systems. PayPal needs a good velocity/mcc based system, among other things. They are not built to handle travelers nor any significant recurring volumes.
     
  11. mikesteg

    mikesteg Silver Member

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    An interesting read (even though it isn't likely to impact my 20-30 transactions per year).

    Have you considered using something like Lingo with the soft phone option to semi-spoof the home phone number origination requirement? It sounds like that wouldn't help you 100%, but perhaps get you past some problems?
     
  12. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Long discussions with PayPal and practicality won out for me. I now am using a vpn with a fixed ip address, so they see me in Seattle, Washington, USA. henceforth I'll use that wherever I am, even in the US, so they never will see anything else. I am also switching all my emails to host through the same location. Only using vpn while traveling was not enough, but the new extra step should do the job, I hope.

    That is the easy way to solve all this, it seems.
     
  13. horseguy

    horseguy Gold Member

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    I've always used a vpn connection so everything to paypal comes from a static IP address, and I've never had any problems...
     

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