Tuesday, June 17, 2008

PayPal's refusal to recognize our marriage

In an apparent show of security theater, PayPal is essentially refusing to honor one of the benefits of marriage.

Having been married for just over a year now, Sarah and I have been rather blessed. However, while I don't think either of us even seriously considered against having her last name changed, it is definitely not a stress-free process. I share in her frustration as I observe the difficulties.

So far, PayPal has definitely posed the most difficulty. While PayPal never requires any identity verification when signing up for an account - which can be a security concern in itself - they require a faxed copy of a driver's license or marriage certificate for a name change. Especially today, most people don't even have a fax machine at home, or even one readily accessible.

More frustratingly are PayPal's policies against joint accounts. They only allow each bank / credit card account to be registered to one PayPal account - without exception. While this policy may be useful for detecting potential security issues, there should be an exception process for joint accounts, such as the ones that Sarah & I share, both at the bank and with our credit cards. Neither our bank nor any of our credit card companies had any real issues with converting our accounts into join accounts. Why should PayPal make things any more difficult? So unless we open and maintain a balance in a 2nd checking account just for PayPal, one of us may as well just close our PayPal account.

An alternative option would be to allow Sarah & I to share the same PayPal account. Unfortunately, PayPal doesn't allow that either. So now I'll be sharing my PayPal username and password with Sarah, which is arguably worse than any of PayPal's above security concerns. Though I trust her completely, this means that whenever the password needs to be changed, we have to communicate it to each other, which would normally result in it being written down someplace. This also has the disadvantage in only one of our names being displayed on the account. More significantly, the person not listed probably won't be able to contact PayPal support, etc.

Following are two responses I got from PayPal after emailing them with the above concerns:

Unfortunately you can only have one name on one PayPal account and you can't use the same financial information on another active account.

Thank you for contacting PayPal with your concern.

The short answer is "no;" we cannot have the same financial information on more than one account. Please read below for a more detailed explanation.

Our security procedures limit credit card registrations to one PayPal account at a time. If your credit card was previously registered to another PayPal account, you will need to regain access to that account in order to use the credit card on a different PayPal account.

1 comment:

Brad Beilke said...

Leave it to PayPal to reinvent money, but do it worse.