Paypal is not a bank. It is a middle man between a buyer and a seller.
As such, although they are regulated by some of the same laws as banks, they are free to make up any of their own rules as they want, so it is very important to read the Terms and Conditions.
After you sign up with them, then you will need to link a bank account or credit card to your PayPal account. This is very easy to do and to verify that it is actually your account, Paypal will put some small deposits in. Once you see these deposits in your account, then you can enter them in and your account will be verified.
As a buyer
Paypal is used on thousands of websites around the world. It is incredibly easy to buy something and pay for it almost immediately as long as there are funds in your account. If there are not enough funds, then PayPal can easily access your bank account and withdraw as much as it needs to complete the transaction.
Just like a credit card purchase, a PayPal purchase is protected if there should be anything wrong, such as the item does not arrive, or it is faulty in any way. All it takes is usually a complaint to PayPal and they will open a case to investigate.
As a Seller
Paypal is very easy to use. They allow you to put a button up on your website which lets people buy your products and services easily and quickly. The fees to receive a payment depend on where in the world you are, but for the U.K. They are 3.4% plus 20p of the Payment up to £1,500 and a tiered reduced rate for higher payments.
Unfortunately, although they actually started as a way to help the world,Paypal have been a bit arbitrary in their judgements over the years and a little heavy handed in their control of their own reputation, so I think it is necessary to have a strict policy when dealing with them.
Like everything else on the Internet, it is a good idea to do a quick search to see if they are any good and a search through Google, using the term "PayPal problem" brings up nearly half a billion web pages. Of course many of these will be duplicate content and some will be things like, " I had a huge problem and PayPal fixed it for me". but still, half a billion.
* Don't keep a large balance in your PayPal account. Withdraw the funds into your bank account as soon as possible.
* Because all buyers are so protected under the Paypal system, your dealings and business are vulnerable on two sides, Paypal keeps an eye on all their sellers' activity, and, as they say in their T&Cs at any time, they can do anything with your money, with your account, with your business and therefore, with your life. Secondly, buyers know that they are protected, so they can play all sorts of tricks to get their money back: non-delivery, faulty/broken item, problem, even weeks later, so it is vital to protect yourself as much as possible by using track able postage and accurate descriptions as much as possible.
* Do not forget the real world! In this country, there is a financial ombudsman, there are all sorts of agencies, there is the small claims court and, may e as a last resort, there are the police. It is a mistake to think that if it happens online, the. It stays online. If you have been badly treated by a buyer or by Paypal, then it is possible to get recourse through offline actions.