10 December 2008

Selling Globally through PayPal

I received an email from PayPal advising me that I can now receive payments to my PayPal account in Euros, Yen, Fracs, Forints, Pesos, and, oh, about a dozen more currencies.

Upon receipt of 50 Euros (or whatever), a PayPal account holder has option to a) accept the payment with conversion to $X U.S. Dollars, b) accept the payment in Euros and create a Euro Balance in the account, or c) deny the payment.

PayPal promises a "competitive exchange rate" but the more important concept here is that the everyday PayPal merchant (anyone with a web page and a linked PayPal account) now how opportunity to sell globally, to borrow PayPal's advertising line.

Is the everyday PayPal merchant up to this?
Up to making sound decisions about accepting payment?
Or decisions about holding it in non-U.S. currency?

I use PayPal sporadically to receive workshop fees. I don't much care for the service charge (a few percentage points) but I value the ability to receive credit card payments from clients who expect that convenience. For the occasional user like me, the PayPal system takes less energy than establishing and maintaining a bank/credit merchant status. PayPal has various types of customers but many are like me. So, I'm quite impressed that a need has emerged for global transactions that (we'll assume) make this service worth Paypal's effort.

Assuming the market is there, I'll return to my primary question: is the everyday PayPal merchant up to this? Using myself as example (theoretically, not in actuality because my PayPal transactions are always in USDollars), my answer is a Reluctant Yes. Why reluctant? I can imagine making errors. A lot of them and not just the arithmetic sort. Currency exchange represents more than simple arithmetic; it's all about trends and cycles and predictions, none of which is very sure right now.

Still, PayPal's international currency service assures us that global markets occur at all levels. Nothing I would have predicted when I set up my PayPal account 5 years ago.

© 2008 Mary Bold, PhD, CFLE. The content of this blog or related web sites created by Mary Bold (www.marybold.com, www.boldproductions.com, College Intern Blog) is not under any circumstances to be regarded as professional, legal, financial, or medical advice. Or education advice. Or marital advice. Or even a tip.

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