The ‘new’ Paypal payments page

19 April, 2011

Pictured above is the page I got yesterday when I tried to use Paypal to buy some Quo tiles. Click it for a larger version.

Pictured below is the one I got when I tried it again today. See how there was no little padlock security symbol at the bottom left y/day, but there was today? Presumably that’s something to do with the fact that y/day I went to the tiles from within Quo and therefore the page loaded in the Quo browser, whereas today I used Firefox.

I’m sure there’s no problem with Mapyx, and I expected the Paypal representative to confirm that Paypal had simply introduced a new page. He was insistent that they hadn’t though. Anyway, I’ve emailed Paypal about it, in accordance with instructions from the rep. Maybe they’ll email back and explain.

More Paypal weirdness

18 April, 2011

I had what felt to me like a disturbing Paypal-related experience a couple of weeks ago, which I described here.

This morning I’ve had another. I was trying to buy some 1:25k Quo map tiles from Mapyx, and when I got to the payment part I clicked on Paypal as the method. The screen that came up wasn’t the usual Paypal payments screen, and it said at the top ‘Welcome to the new Paypal Checkout – A faster, easier way for you to complete your purchase’. I had the impression initially that I might still have been on the Mapyx page, rather than the Paypal page, and there wasn’t the usual little security padlock symbol at the bottom of the page, and so I rang Paypal to check that all was well.

The bloke I spoke to told me that they haven’t made any changes “yet”, and advised me to go over to Ebay in order to see what the Paypal screen should look like. When I pointed out that I’d have to buy something to see the screen he suggested that I should simply not complete the Ebay purchase. Um…??? He advised me to go to the Paypal site and report the incident as a potential fraud, so that they can check out the page.

I’m quite sure Mapyx are entirely legitimate, so I rang to ask whether they could explain what was going on. The bloke I spoke to there was very helpful, and said he thought it might have something to do with new arrangements that Paypal are introducing for businesses. I paid him over the phone instead, so now I have my tiles.

I do wonder, though, whether Paypal is in the process of attempting to introduce a global system whereby users are expected to share their Paypal login details with vendor sites rather than being directed to the Paypal site to enter them there. If they do then I for one won’t be using Paypal any more. I do hope that’s not the plan, because I’ve found paying with Paypal very convenient for a number of years now.

Paypal Pre-Approved Payment Agreements

19 March, 2011

I don’t know whether anybody else has come across this, but it’s new to me.

I’ve been happily using Paypal for years now, and yesterday I used it to buy 3 apps for my new Blackberry 9300 from Blackberry App World. Today I wanted to buy another app from the same place. This time I was asked to register with the site, though, and when I attempted to pay it was no longer possible for me to do so via Paypal without entering into what was later explained to me by Paypal as a pre-approved payment agreement. Blackberry App World wanted me to authorise them to withdraw up to $1,500 per transaction (!) automatically from my Paypal account, rather than directing me to the Paypal site in the usual way so that I could authorise the transactions.

I wasn’t willing to do that, so I cancelled the purchase and rang Paypal to ask what it was all about. Apparently this is something Paypal has introduced, initially for the convenience of Ebay (so that they could simply withdraw from Sellers’ Paypal accounts the sums due to them in fees, rather than having to ask the sellers to authorise them), and it seems it’s now being extended to other online vendors. When I pointed out that I’d bought 3 things from the same site y/day without any problem at all, the woman I spoke to at Paypal explained that that’s why Blackberry App World had attempted to introduce the new arrangement today i.e. it was more convenient to them to do it this way.

Um… doh?! Can directing people to the Paypal site so that they can authorise their own payments really be so very inconvenient? Will it be less inconvenient when people decide to buy their products elsewhere, I wonder? Because surely it can’t just be me who isn’t willing to hand over the key to my bank account in that way…?

Maybe I’m unduly cautious, but it sounds like madness to me. Entering into that sort of agreement is like handing over one’s Paypal password to strangers… isn’t it? To me, the whole point of having a password is to be sure that only *I* can authorise payments from my bank account, via Paypal, to vendors or others. To me this sounds like signing up for an online account with Tesco and handing over my bank card and pin number at the same time.

Perhaps it’s an age thing. I brought this issue up on a Blackberry forum to see whether anybody else has come across it, and it seems that people there (the ones who replied, anyway) feel it’s all perfectly okay, and that at some stage one has to simply be willing to trust the system. Well I feel that there’s already an element of trust involved in sharing my account details with Paypal and relying upon them not to misuse them. Handing them over to any old vendor who’d quite like to have free access to my bank account feels like a step too far. The older I get, the weirder the world appears to become… *g*