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How to Set Up a PayPal Account and Receive Money From Anyone

Christian Cawley Updated 29-05-2020

Whether you’re shopping online or selling, you should have a PayPal account. It’s ideal for receiving money from friends and family, as well as from customers of your business or website.

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Think receiving payment with PayPal is difficult to set up? Think again!

Let’s learn why you need a PayPal account and how to send and receive money online.

Why Should You Create a PayPal Account?

Over the years PayPal has solidified itself as the de facto payment system for anyone doing business online.

PayPal grew as it found a gap in the market between less advanced alternatives and greedy credit card processors. Much of this growth was fueled by eBay, which needed a cheap, convenient payment system. Sellers couldn’t afford credit card processing and buyers didn’t want to risk sharing their credit cards with strangers.

Sign up to PayPal to receive money on PayPal

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PayPal offered a solution to both, a safe and secure means to send and receive money. It works online and offline, provides tools to businesses of all sizes and types, and even offers a pre-paid credit card.

These days, PayPal can be used to purchase goods almost anywhere—you can even use PayPal on Amazon 2 Ways to Use PayPal on Amazon (And Other Sites) Yes, you can use PayPal on Amazon (and other online shops) using two simple tricks: a PayPal Access Card and Amazon Gift Cards. Read More .

If you don’t already have a PayPal account, you should. Head to www.paypal.com, click Sign Up, choose your account type, provide a name, email address. and password, and you’re done.

Note that two account types are available, Personal and Business. Below we’ll look at how to receive money on PayPal using a personal account, then move onto business accounts.

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How to Set Up a Paypal Account for Receiving Payments

A personal account can subscribe to websites, buy on eBay and other online stores, and send and receive money. As you might know, you can use any type of PayPal account to receive money.

For example, there’s eBay. You might have sold the odd item on eBay, which doesn’t require a PayPal business account, and received the money.

However, you can also receive money from people beyond eBay. Friends and family might send you money, or you could have a link on your blog or website for donations.

For years, the most common way to receive payments on PayPal has been to simply request a payment from someone.

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Receive PayPal Money on the Web

With a personal eBay account, you can request money by signing into your account and clicking Request money.

Receive money in PayPal

In the field, enter the email address of the person who you want to receive money from. Add the value of the request, perhaps a note, and if necessary, add another email address. Up to 20 addresses can be entered at a time.

Click Request Now to complete the process and wait for the funds to be sent to you.

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Usually, this won’t be required if you’re using a system like eBay, where the request for payment is an automated part of the process, and where buyers usually just pay for the products immediately upon winning the auction.

These are the two most common ways to receive money from people, and these methods have been available in some form or another since PayPal was founded. However, these days, PayPal provides many more options for you to offer your customers and clients for sending you the money that you’re owed.

Receive Money With the PayPal App

With a PayPal mobile app on iPhone and Android, you can request payments in three ways.

  1. Enter the name, email address, or mobile number of the person you’re requesting money from. Enter the amount, add a message, review the amount, then click Request Now.
  2. You can Share your link using social networks and email. This creates a clickable link that the recipient (or anyone) can use to send you money via PayPal.
  3. Split a bill is ideal for paying the balance at a restaurant or grouping together for a gift. Just input the value of the bill, add the email addresses of the group, and request the money.

Mobile devices are increasingly important to PayPal thanks to the growing facility of mobile payments for every type of transaction.

7 Ways Business Can Receive Money on PayPal

As well as manually requesting money, PayPal offers several tools to help you receive money in other ways. These are available to business accounts and include subscription tools, buttons, and point-of-sale tools.

  1. Invoices
  2. PayPal Checkout
  3. Subscriptions
  4. Point-of-sale Terminal
  5. Virtual Terminal (telephone payments)
  6. QR Code
  7. PayPal buttons

Each of these options is explained below in further detail.

1. PayPal Invoices

For business purposes, you can create an invoice in PayPal to send to clients. This has three options: a standard one-off invoice, a recurring invoice, and an estimate.

PayPal Invoices have all the fields you need for customization, e.g. specifying invoice numbers, setting logos, adding addresses. The result is a polished professional invoicing system.

2. PayPal Checkout

Run a website with a few bits of merchandise? Have a full eCommerce catalog? Either way, PayPal Checkout is available, either by adding a few lines of code or adding complete integration.

If you want your customers to take you seriously and receive money for your goods over PayPal, use Checkout.

3. Receive Money With PayPal Subscriptions

Set up a subscription program to receive money on PayPal

Offer a product or service that has recurring payments? Perhaps it’s an online TV station or a membership website.

PayPal offers a useful feature for receiving timely, regular payments: PayPal Subscriptions. Simply select the subscription product, add details, select a pricing model, and a periodic fee.

4. A Portable PayPal PoS iZettle Terminal

Businesses that use PayPal and have signed up to its Commerce Platform can use iZettle. This is a PayPal-owned service that offers a portable reader and mobile app for handling card payments.

It’s ideal for pop-up shops, market stalls, craft fairs, and similar small businesses. If credit card processing overheads are likely to crush your profit, try iZettle.

5. Virtual Terminal Payments

PayPal will also let business accounts receive payments using a virtual terminal system. This enables the processing of debit or credit card payments over the phone. Virtual terminal payments use card-not-present authorization and must be applied for before you start using it.

6. Receive PayPal Money With a QR Code

QR codes are another great way to receive money. No one needs to handle cards, making it ideal for restricted contact or lockdown scenarios. PayPal QR codes are free for sellers to use until September 2020, when a fee will be added. Check your local PayPal for details, as different countries have slightly different fees.

7. Add PayPal Buttons to Your Site

Receive money on your website with PayPal buttons

Another great feature of PayPal is the ability to add payment buttons to your website. Several such buttons are available, with labels such as Buy Now, Add to Cart, Subscribe. The right button selection will ensure you receive money from customers to your PayPal account.

Simply select a button, grab the code, and add it to your website code.

PayPal: You’re Ready to Receive Money

With so many ways to receive money from PayPal, there’s no reason to bother with cash. Friends and family can request money via PayPal with ease in the app. You can receive money from eBay sales automatically, but if you’re building your enterprise, a PayPal business account opens more options.

Running into trouble using PayPal? Here are some common PayPal problems 3 Common PayPal Problems and How to Fix Them These three common PayPal problems can confuse you the most. Let's troubleshoot them with three solutions. Read More and how to fix them.

Related topics: Business Technology, Mobile Payment, Money Management, Online Payments, PayPal.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. karthick
    August 18, 2017 at 11:02 am

    hi sir mam
    I need paypal purse number and account number

  2. Farhad Kunto
    February 24, 2017 at 1:32 am

    I live in a country where PayPal isn't supported. Do you think getting a USA PayPal from Auction Essistance would be safe to do? I don't have a bank withdraw money, so I plan to do currency exchange or have my friend cash out for me.

  3. vijeta verma
    October 3, 2016 at 4:32 am

    Hi
    I am Indian. I want to know that is it essential to have cash in my account for creating PayPal account.

  4. larhonda kaye lewis
    September 19, 2016 at 5:11 pm

    If I don't need a debit card then why are they asking for card info b4 I can go any further? I have a bank account but I don't wanna use it for this. I rather get another debit card. Don't feel Sade using my account

  5. Nuzzo
    May 7, 2016 at 6:56 pm

    Would it be a good idea to get a PayPal account from Auction Essistance?

  6. Billy Slais
    April 9, 2016 at 2:06 am

    I am in dire need of a small amount of money my friend sent to me from S. Calif. I don't have a PayPal account.....I don't have a bank account..... How do I access this 175.00 that he sent me in an emergency situation...?

  7. rupali
    April 17, 2015 at 6:53 am

    plz help me i can not recive payment in my paypal account

  8. Sisira
    March 18, 2015 at 10:38 am

    I am a Sri Lankan. Was trying to open a Paypal account, to enable me to receive my earnings on ad clicks in web sites. Unfortunately I am unable to complete the registration, as it does not contain provinces of sri lanka and all codes are american. could you please help me in this issue and advise me as to how I could hae this account? thank you and regads !

  9. sheetal
    March 16, 2015 at 7:40 am

    i am from india and i generally use paypal to buy online.i have a little query.i am venturing into retailing and planning to be a reseller.i wish to know if my buyers can use paypal to pay for my goods as i do not own a website or a payment gateway.kindly reply asap.thank you and regards!

  10. MIMI
    March 12, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    does pay pal work in Ethiopia?????? and is there any payment for opening pay pal account please tell me

  11. Lucy Steffey
    February 22, 2015 at 5:56 am

    Hello, I've used Paypal for quite awhile now, & never ran into the issue that I've emailed & called into Paypal numerous times in the past few days about. That being Receiving Payment from a Buyer (Well 2) that I've Invoiced, & when they pay there invoice instead of Funds going directly into my acct. Like they always have, when I open my PayPal under there payments r the options Claim Funds/Deny Funds, when I attempt to Claim Funds it pops up that where I'm not Verified because I don't have a Bank acct. to link to my PayPal I can't accept payment this way, Although there r alternative payment methods, But they're not listed. & As i said calling Pp Rep. sent me an email that he instructed me to forward to my clients & it would explain how for them to make payment. I sent email (even though it must looked to me to be the normal way one pays an invoice. 1 Mama tried using instructions, But it still came thru I had to claim. I've emailed Pp again yest., but haven't received response yet. As I am a Mother of 4 selling my children's gently used mange brand clothes is how I turn around & dubbed good deals online to buy them more. I'm not a Boutique/store Owner or have a Great Job to where i could afford these things otherwise. And I feel lucky after a week these ladies haven't changed there minds about the items because of the delay. As I said I love the device Pp provides, I only wish someone would advise me on how to fix this problem so I can begin receiving payments again. I don't understand why this information is so hard to get? Please help. Thanks

  12. baneza damasco
    April 26, 2013 at 12:15 am

    can u direct me to the exact page to recived money from a friend over seas ??

    • Ryan Dube
      April 26, 2013 at 12:37 am

      I'm not sure what you're asking -- you just use Paypal as normal, and if senders or receivers are from a different country, the currency will show up differently and Paypal will convert automatically based on current rates.

      • Lance Guddeck
        July 23, 2013 at 8:54 pm

        Ok I want to receive money via PayPal. How exactly do I begin?

        • Ryan
          July 23, 2013 at 11:21 pm

          Create an email address, and sign up for a Paypal account with it. People send you money by using the email account you sign up with.

  13. Keith Swartz
    March 26, 2013 at 5:50 am

    This is a NEED TO READ ARTICLE! Thanks Ryan & MUO!

  14. Anonymous
    January 31, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Thanks for the info. Ryan Dube. I use it to buy. I am working on a web site.

  15. Poch P
    January 31, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    I like the Money Request because you don't have to use a bank account and it's fast. Used it twice.

  16. SaapeXD MoHods
    January 31, 2013 at 8:33 am

    Do you have to add credit card to use paypal? XD

    • Rubis Song
      January 31, 2013 at 1:08 pm

      Yes, off course :)

      • Mark Alsisto
        January 31, 2013 at 1:54 pm

        no, you don't. I've been using paypal to purchase online funds for games, and i don't even have credit card. You only need to verify the bank that you linked with paypal.

        • Rubis Song
          January 31, 2013 at 2:40 pm

          That's very interesting. I couldn't open mine without providing my credit card. Thanks for the tip.

        • Daniel Escasa
          February 1, 2013 at 5:21 pm

          I think it may depend on whether your bank can "talk" to PayPal. I've linked PayPal with my bank account, albeit through a debit card.

        • SaapeXD MoHods
          January 31, 2013 at 2:48 pm

          So u can use it without loading any cards eh? Just have to receive payments right? But I think there is a limit on how much bucks you can send if u havent added a card! ($100 , I think )!

  17. André Kamara
    January 31, 2013 at 1:07 am

    PayPal is indeed helpful, but has so many strange policies. For example, I don't live in the US so I can only use Paypal to buy things (on Ebay for example). I can't receive money. And as Paypal is owned by Ebay (unless it's the oposite) you can't send someone an Ebay gift card unless they have a Paypal verified account. For all these reasons I'd rather use Skrill which supports most countries and offer interesting services like a Skrill MasterCard (linked to your Skrill account). They also let their users who live outside the US order products on American websites which deliver only on the US territory. They provide you a virtual american address for that. Unfortunatey these two features are available only to EU citizens.

    • Ryan Dube
      January 31, 2013 at 1:35 am

      Interesting! We'll have to take a closer look at Skrill to see if it's a service we may want to review. The virtual address feature is fascinating.

  18. Taivins
    January 30, 2013 at 11:33 pm

    The Square card reader is another good tool that functions exactly the same as the PayPal card reader (in fact, it came first and PayPal copied it exactly). I have been using Square for over a year and have had no problems.

    • Ryan Dube
      January 31, 2013 at 1:34 am

      Cool - thanks for the heads up Taivins - that's good to know. I didn't realize that Square came first.

  19. Meena Bassem
    January 30, 2013 at 10:48 pm

    ok, it's made to receive money and it works ok, but how can i use it to pay something , maybe buy something or pay for an online service,it doesn't work outside US or canada, i think. is there any possible way to use the money in the account to pay for something else before verifying?

    • Ryan Dube
      January 31, 2013 at 1:32 am

      Funny you should ask - stay tuned for an upcoming article next week about setting up your paypal account to send anyone money from anywhere. :-)

      • Meena Bassem
        January 31, 2013 at 10:33 am

        so, will it be possible to send even if the account is not verified?i live outside US and canada.and i can't verify it.you got something for that?

        • Pianex Sobude
          January 31, 2013 at 4:54 pm

          Yes, you can send even if you're account is not yet verified. And you can verify your account by adding your bank account or if you own and Visa or Mastercard debit/credit cards.

    • Pianex Sobude
      January 31, 2013 at 4:49 pm

      Usually online stores have Paypal button which you can click to pay the items you bought using your Paypal funds. It will ask you log-in to your Paypal account.

      To send money to anyone, just ask for their Paypal user id which is the email address they are using to log-in in Paypal. Go to your Paypal account and look for "send payment" and just fill-up the needed info in the page.

      • Meena Bassem
        January 31, 2013 at 10:06 pm

        tried that before to buy something from a website,or sign up for an account, don't remember exactly, but it asked to verify the account before i could send.