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  1. #1
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    Default PayPal vs. USPS Money Order?

    I recently took a thread off course with a discussion about the merits of paying with a USPS money order versus PayPal from a buyer's perspective. My point was that I understand why sellers sometimes don't like it: fees and possibilities of buyer fraud. But from a buyer's perspective, it's better than sending a MO.

    I noted that PayPal saves you the time and expense of buying and mailing MOs. That you don't have to constantly talk people into accepting them and you get your stuff quicker. Finally, you have some possibility of recourse if someone didn't ship your item.

    I got back a few responses before an admin rightly put the thread back on track from my tangent. I got comments that people don't want to use PayPal to purchase things because PayPal can freeze your account balance for no apparent reason and because PayPal disputes won't always get your money back.

    But how is a USPS money order any better? As long as you don't keep funds in your account, and just draft them from your bank account as necessary, then it doesn't matter if PayPal freezes your account. And while a PayPal dispute might not get your money back, some possibility of recourse is better than no recourse if the seller absconds with your MO. Plus, if the MO is lost in the mail, isn't everybody screwed?

    Anyway, feel free to post your thoughts. Maybe there's some advantage to a USPS money order that I'm not considering...

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* EngrPaul's Avatar
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    Default Re: PayPal vs. USPS Money Order?

    Quote Originally Posted by concept0 View Post
    Plus, if the MO is lost in the mail, isn't everybody screwed?
    Everybody but the post office.

    Hey, isn't that incentive for them to loose mail?

  3. #3
    Flashaholic ackbar's Avatar
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    Default Re: PayPal vs. USPS Money Order?

    Quote Originally Posted by concept0 View Post
    But how is a USPS money order any better? As long as you don't keep funds in your account, and just draft them from your bank account as necessary, then it doesn't matter if PayPal freezes your account. And while a PayPal dispute might not get your money back, some possibility of recourse is better than no recourse if the seller absconds with your MO. Plus, if the MO is lost in the mail, isn't everybody screwed?
    When someone doesn't deliver goods paid via a MO it becomes a federal crime. or so i'm told.

    I personally wouldn't trust linking a bank account with paypal. The have a dodgy record or withdrawing funds from linked accounts to cover chargeback. As far as I'm concerned.. when you link your account.. you have essentially given them a blank cheque for that account.

    Regarding the lost money order.. you can have it reissued if it is lost in transit.
    Last edited by ackbar; 03-20-2009 at 03:37 PM.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: PayPal vs. USPS Money Order?

    Quote Originally Posted by ackbar View Post
    When someone doesn't deliver goods paid via a MO it becomes a federal crime.
    Maybe, but good luck getting a federal prosecutor to care that "FlashlightBill" (just made up that name) didn't ship your latest new SureFire!

  5. #5
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    Default Re: PayPal vs. USPS Money Order?

    Quote Originally Posted by ackbar View Post
    I personally wouldn't trust linking a bank account with paypal. The have a dodgy record or withdrawing funds from linked accounts to cover chargeback. As far as I'm concerned.. when you link your account.. you have essentially given them a blank cheque for that account.
    But this is a problem for sellers, not buyers. If you are not selling anything, there is no possibility of chargeback.

    Quote Originally Posted by ackbar View Post
    Regarding the lost money order.. you can have it reissued if it is lost in transit.
    Interesting, does this mean that all POs are linked to a central network with MO information? Otherwise, how does the PO know that you won't just cash the "lost" MO the next day?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: PayPal vs. USPS Money Order?

    duplicate post...

    after typing that entire post again, I realized that it actually had posted...

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* qip's Avatar
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    Default Re: PayPal vs. USPS Money Order?

    i guess if the M.O is cashed then it can probably be traced to a bank account, therefore legal action would be taken place i presume...also cashing in a M.O at P.O or check cashing place ,they always ask for drivers license so they put the drivers license id # for record ..so i guess if M.O is fake or stolen they go to person who cashed it in


  8. #8
    Flashaholic KLC's Avatar
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    Default Re: PayPal vs. USPS Money Order?

    Money Orders are better for sellers for a number of reasons. However, for buyers, the reverse is true. A buyer has no recourse when an item is purchased via a Money Order. A seller could potentially take the money and run, so to speak.
    Because just as good morals, if they are to be maintained, have need of the laws, so the laws, if they are to be observed, have need of good morals. - Niccolo Machiavelli

  9. #9
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    Default Re: PayPal vs. USPS Money Order?

    I mainly use Money orders, yes paypal is more convienent..but i dont always have cash in my paypal account.

    My bank account isnt linked due to problems between my bank+paypal. Simple transfers
    used to take way too long and both institutions blamed eachother and never got it fixed.
    I'm not opening an account with another bank just for paypal.

    I use a credit card maybe once a year and i dont carry balances...so i'm not going to begin
    using them to fund my light purchases. if i can afford something i buy it, if not, i dont.

    My post office is <1 mile away and i live in a small town, so it's always empty..mailing out
    a Money order via usps priority with Delivery Confirmation takes about 15 minutes to do.
    The seller usually receives payment in 2-3 days.


    lost/stolen money orders take 60 days to get refunded...usps also keeps a database of
    invalidated money orders on their website. if you use delivery confirmation, then you at
    least know if the seller received it. and you have their name+address if you detect
    something funky is going on. you could always add signature confirmation and return
    recipt for another $1.35

    also it seems people like to recoup their lost paypal fees by adding 4%.
    money order costs me $5.65 for the money order+priority ship+delivery conf.
    so overall cost is about the same.
    Last edited by MWClint; 03-20-2009 at 06:17 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: PayPal vs. USPS Money Order?

    Quote Originally Posted by MWClint View Post
    My post office is <1 mile away and i live in a small town, so it's always empty..mailing out
    a Money order via usps priority with DC takes about 15 minutes to do. The seller usually
    receives payment in 2-3 days.
    So you pay over $6 extra on each purchase for the MO + PM + DC? That's gotta get expensive...

  11. #11
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    Default Re: PayPal vs. USPS Money Order?

    Quote Originally Posted by concept0 View Post
    So you pay over $6 extra on each purchase for the MO + PM + DC? That's gotta get expensive...
    and people charge an extra 4% for using paypal CC.

    money wise..it's a wash. (or actually cheaper via money order on expensive lights)

    buying used is still 20-50% cheaper than buying new.
    if i buy something new from an online store..visa debit card works fine.
    lighthound, 4sevens, peak etc.
    Last edited by MWClint; 03-20-2009 at 06:26 PM.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: PayPal vs. USPS Money Order?

    Quote Originally Posted by MWClint View Post
    and people charge an extra 4% for using paypal CC.

    money wise..it's a wash.
    Yeah, but PayPal from a bank account (which has never caused any problems for me) is free...

    So if you're buying something for $20, then paying with PP cash costs $20 total versus $26 total if sending MO. That's 30% more!

  13. #13
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    Default Re: PayPal vs. USPS Money Order?

    Quote Originally Posted by concept0 View Post
    Yeah, but PayPal from a bank account (which has never caused any problems for me) is free...

    So if you're buying something for $20, then paying with PP cash costs $20 total versus $26 total if sending MO. That's 30% more!
    No.

    i wouldnt and haven't bought something for 20$ via M.O... yes that's a waste.
    i'd wait until i sold something and built up a paypal balance. or bug my coworker to paypal me a few bucks and i'd head to the atm(free at work down the hall) and reimburse him.
    which is usually not a problem.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: PayPal vs. USPS Money Order?

    Quote Originally Posted by MWClint View Post
    No.

    i wouldnt and haven't bought something for 20$ via M.O... yes that's a waste.
    i'd wait until i sold something and built up a paypal balance. or bug my coworker to paypal me a few bucks and i'd head to the atm(free at work down the hall) and reimburse him.
    which is usually not a problem.
    Gotcha, so you only use MO for big purchases. Like, say, a Chimera Mini? I'm so jealous...

  15. #15
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    Default Re: PayPal vs. USPS Money Order?

    Quote Originally Posted by concept0 View Post
    Gotcha, so you only use MO for big purchases. Like, say, a Chimera Mini? I'm so jealous...
    You got it! i try not to go below $100 for a M.O. ..but there are some extreme cases i have to just pull the trigger and send a M.O. for a $50 item. It all works out well in the end anyway.

  16. #16
    Flashaholic* csshih's Avatar
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    Default Re: PayPal vs. USPS Money Order?

    chimera mini? I want one of those!

  17. #17
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    Default Re: PayPal vs. USPS Money Order?

    I like to use a money order when I can.To me it's like useing "Cash".For me I like the fact that I see the money,and it helps me on not spending too much.Sure I have Pay-Pal acount and credit cards,but I allways like paying cash when I can.It just helps me visualize my spending better(I wish our goverment did the same)

  18. #18
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    Default Re: PayPal vs. USPS Money Order?

    Yes, using money orders is like sending money ... which is why I eschew that form of payment. Anyone with a fake I.D. can cash it.

    Paypal is faster (instantaneous vs. days), more relliable (few minutes to process and confirm versus lost mail), far less risky (Paypal credit favors the buyer versus dealing with the P.O. on a money order claim), more universal (more sellers accept Paypal than money orders), and more convenient (seconds at a keyboard versus minutes/hours to get to the post office).

    The last time I tried a money order payment, the money order was delivered two weeks late. Meanwhile, the seller was left in the lurch while awaiting the misdirected mail. I was fretting over what happened - and not getting the goods that I had already paid for weeks ago (albeit to the Post Office and not directly to the seller). It was an unpleasant experience.

    While I respect others' preferences for money orders, I will never buy another flashlight via money order. For me, no light is worth that hassle.
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  19. #19
    Flashaholic* Niconical's Avatar
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    Default Re: PayPal vs. USPS Money Order?

    USPS money orders are not relevant to me for obvious reasons, but one thing does surprise me about the system. As far as I can tell, this is how it works. You buy the money order in one post office, then you send it, presumably by USPS post, to the recipient, who then cashes it in another post office.

    Is there not a system whereby you can buy the money order in one post office, but not even take it from the teller, and instead have it listed on their computer as "to be collected/cashed by Mr XXX in post office XXX"? Kind of like an internal USPS Western Union thing?

    Not important, just curious.

  20. #20
    Flashaholic ackbar's Avatar
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    Default Re: PayPal vs. USPS Money Order?

    Quote Originally Posted by 1dash1 View Post
    Paypal credit favors the buyer versus dealing with the P.O. on a money order claim
    Actually, paypal favors paypal. I've read somewhere that once someone bought something via paypal (credit funded) and got burned. they went throught the usual PP BS and couldn't be reimbursed since the seller had cleaned out the account. Buyer initiated a chargeback and PP processed it only to withdraw the funds from the buyer's PP account (I forget if it was a PP balance or from a linked account)

    Bottom line is that I choose to be as paranoid as possible when dealing with PP. The fact that they arn't a bank and do not adhere to the same standards as one. Dispite providing similar services as a bank.

  21. #21
    Flashaholic Wattnot's Avatar
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    Default Re: PayPal vs. USPS Money Order?

    Paypal is great for buyers, and risky (and fee laden) for sellers.

    Money orders are a pain for buyers, and great for sellers.

    It comes down to a have/want/trust situation. If you are a seller with a stellar reputation, selling something expensive to someone you don't know, I would recommend insisting a money order. If the buyer wants it bad enough, they'll go through the extra little hassle.

    But if you are a new seller or have had problems, I doubt anyone would send you an MO.

    I wish they would have stopped Ebay from buying Paypal. Now they're linked in draconian ways. My friend sold something where the buyer used Paypal. They would not release his money to him until the buyer left positive feedback!! Can you believe that s@#! I'm all for having recourse but with all of the cases of buyer fraud I've heard about AND KNOW ABOUT FIRST HAND, that really sucks for sellers. Oh and just try and get some other payment method mentioned on Ebay . . . good luck with that. I hope somebody sues over that nonsense.

    Anyway . . . (how did I get on that soapbox?) . . . here is a way to protect yourself as a seller accepting Paypal. Go to a new bank and open an account with the minimum amount. Link your Paypal to that account. When you sell something, get the money out of there as soon as you can. If a buyer tries to play games, at least they're not linked to all of your money. I'm not sure if this could affect your credit though and if you end up in this situation, that account will then be unusable until the situation is resolved.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: PayPal vs. USPS Money Order?

    I frankly don't understand the aversion to PayPal. I've used it for quite a few years. I started when I started using eBay. I have two accounts - one 'standard' no fee account that I use for receiving all funds that are not automatically subject to fees (credit card and international) and a business or Premier account for accepting international and credit card payments. I obtained the second account when I started hosting group buys here on CPF. I don't sell for profit, so if it were not for the GBs, I wouldn't need the business account.

    I've never had a problem with PayPal. I had a participant in my last GB that had a payment frozen because he was traveling when he was out of his country when he made the payment for his charger. Since he had never done that before, PP suspected fraudulent activity and locked the payment. The only thing wrong is the length of time (almost a month) that it took them to release the payment once they knew all was OK.

    When you deal with people that you don't know, there's always a risk that something can go wrong. One of reasons that I enjoy buying or reselling on CPF is the nature of the people here. I treat most all of my transactions here as if I'm dealing with friends. I've shipped items to established members before receiving payment more than once.

    I'm more skeptical of M/Os than I am PP. PP is the norm. If you conduct your affairs on the up and up, what is there to be fearful of? I think that buyer and seller both should have some sense of accountability and a MO sure doesn't offer that for the buyer.

    I remember a year or two ago when a new member showed up and offered several things for sale that I was interested in, but would only accept a MO. I contacted him with my interest, but reservation to send him a MO because I knew nothing about him. I suggested that he send me the item because I was an established member and when I received it, I would send him a payment. He refused, but I wasn't willing to take a chance. He sold quite a bit of stuff since then and it became apparent that he was legit and he even had a couple of people make favorable comments about him from another forum. As of very recently, he is using PP to accept payments.

    I make the same assessment when I deal with someone even with PP if they're new or I don't know them. I assess my risk when dealing with them and determine if it's worth it for me, but MO only makes me cautious.

    I guess I'm directing my concern towards sellers that express the need to 'protect' themselves in a transaction when selling. My point is that I'm more concerned about the quality of the transaction for both buyer and seller rather than just 'protecting' myself as a seller and I'm a little dubious of those that think otherwise.

    I can't imagine not having PP for the amount of online transactions that I conduct. I don't mind giving CC info to established businesses online, but there are plenty that I deal with that I feel much safer and more protected using PP than giving my CC info. I can do small transactions at no cost to me and have instant payment and documentation.

    Unless you're a business or do GBs and need to accept CC payments, you can have a no fee account, which ends the objections to PP fees.
    Last edited by kitelights; 03-22-2009 at 11:36 PM. Reason: added comment about fees

  23. #23
    Flashaholic* Jumpmaster's Avatar
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    Default Re: PayPal vs. USPS Money Order?

    Quote Originally Posted by kitelights View Post
    Unless you're a business or do GBs and need to accept CC payments, you can have a no fee account, which ends the objections to PP fees.
    I opened a second (separate) account with PP recently and they said that you can only receive 5 payments per year without having to "upgrade" (poor choice of words...theirs, not mine) to a Premier account. Makes it cumbersombe to get funds into the account. I guess I could have it pull from that bank account, but it takes almost a week for the funds to go from my bank into PayPal.

    I don't really have any other comments...just wish it wasn't so difficult to keep the "free" account.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: PayPal vs. USPS Money Order?

    I believe that the 5 payment limit is for payments that are subject to fees, not 'cash' payments. You can receive as many 'cash' no-fee payments as you like. Be careful - with your new Premier account you will be charged a fee for every payment that you receive. That's why I direct all no-fee payments to my no-fee account and only the payments that are subject to a fee to my Premier account.

    I have both accounts linked to a bank account (one personal and one business) and both are backed by a CC. Once the account is confirmed, the transfer from your bank account to your PP account when you make a payment is instant. It does require a CC backup - that is PP's protection from you should you make a payment and don't have funds in your account or you close the account.

    I had the experience one time where I made a PP payment and it took almost a week for the payment to 'clear.' I had no idea what had happened because my payments have always been instant. My CC on file had expired so PP now waited for the funds from my bank to transfer because they no longer had a guarantee if something went wrong. I updated the card and things went back to the way they were.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: PayPal vs. USPS Money Order?

    I have some questions that concerns this subject. One question is what is a person supposed to do when they don't have a credit card or debit card to back up PP purchases? The only way I can send money through PP is with an e-check. Otherwise I am left to using a money order.

    I understand that people want to get the money as soon as possible, but those of us who don't have credit or debit cards feel like we are screwed here and miss out on a chance to buy from you guys. How many of you are willing to wait the 3-4 days for an e-check to clear? Unless a person is willing to wait those few days our only other recourse is a money order, and from what I have seen here it is not very popular.

    So what are people like me supposed to do?
    Last edited by jcs71; 03-25-2009 at 09:47 AM.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: PayPal vs. USPS Money Order?

    Quote Originally Posted by jcs71 View Post
    I have some questions that concerns this subject. One question is what is a person supposed to do when they don't have a credit card or debit card to back up PP purchases? The only way I can send money through PP is with an e-check. Otherwise I am left to using a money order.

    I understand that people want to get the money as soon as possible, but those of us who don't have credit or debit cards feel like we are screwed here and miss out on a chance to buy from you guys. How many of you are willing to wait the 3-4 days for an e-check to clear? Unless a person is willing to wait those few days our only other recourse is a money order, and from what I have seen here it is not very popular.

    So what are people like me supposed to do?

    How can someone in 2009 still not have a credit or debit card? I understand why some might prefer not to have a credit card, to avoid overspending and debt. But what is the rationale for not having a debit card? Do you just like making me wait at the grocery store while you fill out a check?

    But seriously, having some form of electronic payment is almost a necessity in the 21st century. If nothing else, why not get one of those pre-funded cards that don't require a bank account? I see them advertised on TV all the time...

  27. #27
    Flashaholic* Jumpmaster's Avatar
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    Default Re: PayPal vs. USPS Money Order?

    Quote Originally Posted by jcs71 View Post
    So what are people like me supposed to do?
    Get a debit card. Doesn't take an act of Congress. Not yet, anyway.

    JM-99

  28. #28
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    Default Re: PayPal vs. USPS Money Order?

    conceptO, jumpmaster:

    My bank won't give me a debit card for some unknown reason. I tried three times. Everytime I keep getting a different answer. The reason I don't go to another bank is because I have free checking at this one. The other banks around here are not exactly the most reputable ones, like Citi Bank and Bank of America. No thanks. Believe me I would love to have a debit card.

    As far as getting groceries or anything at the store, I only use cash. The rare times I use a check is to pay bills.

    I did check into those prepaid credit cards and the ones I was looking at wanted monthly fees and a surcharge. Heck I would end up waisting alot of money with those, not very convenient(spell?) for me. I am on a limited buget the way it is. Only once and a while am I able to get money to buy something.

  29. #29
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    Default Re: PayPal vs. USPS Money Order?

    Quote Originally Posted by jcs71 View Post
    conceptO, jumpmaster:

    My bank won't give me a debit card for some unknown reason. I tried three times. Everytime I keep getting a different answer. The reason I don't go to another bank is because I have free checking at this one. The other banks around here are not exactly the most reputable ones, like Citi Bank and Bank of America. No thanks. Believe me I would love to have a debit card.

    As far as getting groceries or anything at the store, I only use cash. The rare times I use a check is to pay bills.

    I did check into those prepaid credit cards and the ones I was looking at wanted monthly fees and a surcharge. Heck I would end up waisting alot of money with those, not very convenient(spell?) for me. I am on a limited buget the way it is. Only once and a while am I able to get money to buy something.
    That's really strange, most banks want you to have a debit card, because they make money on fees every time you use it (fees are paid by the merchant).

    I know this is kind of a circular answer, because you want the debit card for verifying PayPal, but you can get a debit card from PayPal that will allow you to spend money from your PayPal account just like a regular debit card. My friend has one of these because he doesn't have a bank account. I don't believe they charge any fees unless you use cash withdrawals...

  30. #30
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    Default Re: PayPal vs. USPS Money Order?

    Yeah I thought that was strange why they would not give a debit card. I'll have to look into that Pay Pal debit card. Thanks.

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