Choosing a Payment Method on eBay
After you win an eBay auction, you have several payment options available. Although eBay only allows sellers to show electronic payment methods, if you want to make a payment in the form of a check or money order, use the Ask the seller a question link — and ask! The seller is not required to accept any other form of payment but PayPal or one of the other electronic payment options (ProPay, Paymate, Moneybookers, or a merchant account). These are the forms of payment available to you:
Credit card: Paying with a credit card is a favorite payment option for many buyers, one that’s offered mainly by businesses and dealers. Paying with credit cards is fast and efficient. In addition, using a credit card offers you another ally — your credit card company — if you’re not completely satisfied with the transaction. Credit cards can also be used for payment through the other electronic payment options a seller may offer.
PayPal: Owned by eBay, PayPal is the largest Internet-wide payment network. Sellers who accept PayPal are identified with a special icon in the Seller Information box (as well as a large PayPal logo in the Payment method area below the description) and accept MasterCard, Visa, American Express, and Discover as well as electronic checks (eChecks) and debits. The service is integrated directly into eBay auctions, so paying is a mouse click away.
After you register with PayPal to pay for an item, PayPal debits your credit card or your bank checking account (or your PayPal account — if you have earned some money from sales) and deposits the money directly into the seller’s checking or savings account. PayPal does not charge buyers to use the service; it charges the seller a small transaction fee, so the seller absorbs the cost. Buyers can use PayPal to pay any seller within the United States and around the world in over 55 countries. Some international bidders can pay for their eBay auctions from sellers in the United States.
For more details, check out the PayPal Web site.
Money order: Another popular method of receiving payment is the money order. Sellers love money orders because they don’t have to wait for a check to clear. When you ask to pay with a money order, they will almost always say yes.
Money orders are the same as cash. As soon as the seller gets your money order, he or she has no reason to wait to send the item. You can buy money orders at banks, supermarkets, convenience stores, and your local post office. The average cost is about a dollar. If you’re purchasing an item that’s being shipped internationally, you can pay with an international money order from the U.S. Postal Service, which costs about $3.00.
Personal or cashier’s check: Again, you have to ask. Paying by check is convenient but has its drawbacks. Most sellers won’t ship you the goods until after your check clears, which means a lag time of a couple of weeks or more. Cashier’s checks are available at your bank but often cost much more than a money order.
Regardless of how you pay for an eBay item, always keep a paper trail. Don’t wire money, and never send cash in the mail! Also, if a seller asks you to send your payment to a post office box, get a phone number. Many legitimate sellers use post office boxes, but so do the bad guys.
Most business on eBay is conducted in U.S. dollars. If you happen to buy an item from an international seller, you may need to convert American dollars into another currency. eBay has a currency converter to help you figure out what you're really bidding.