This is all a true story, I genuinely wish I was making this up, but honestly, there is no exaggeration or embellishment.
So, gather around the campfire, and let me tell you of the time in mid-2018 that I tried to use PayPal.
I was recently sent some funds to my PayPal. Now, I’ve had this account for well over a decade with absolutely no issues. I’ve sent and received funds before, of varying amounts from USD$1 to USD$1,000 (AliExpress is crazy easy to spend money on). I’ve cashed out, credited, all without any problems.
However, for some reason (absolutely no reason?) two weeks ago, PayPal decided they weren’t going to allow me to do anything with the funds that had been sent to me.
So I received the money and wanted to cash it out from my PayPal account. I’m no stranger to withdrawing the funds, I know how it works, it’s not rocket science. My account is still in there from last time, so I should be able to hit “Withdraw funds” and that’s that.
Sadly, it wasn’t meant to be.
The withdraw failed
I would click on the “withdraw funds”, enter an amount, and was then told “We need more information, please use the classic page”. It would take me to the old style interface which only had the same fields, my bank account and amount. I entered the details and hit withdrawl, the page would loop back on itself. Not even an error message.
Seemed odd, so instead of withdrawing the maximum, I tried only withdrawing a hundred dollars. Same deal, still failed, nothing changed.
Oh well, “No matter” I thought to myself, “I’ll try again tomorrow and I’m sure it will be fine”, presuming there was some sort of temporary server issue. How wrong was I!
So I tried again the following day, to no avail. The same issue happened and I was unable to withdraw the funds. I tried sending the funds to my wife and the sending was denied.
“Right, that does it, time to get on the phone to PayPal and give them a piece of my mind” I thought.
So I did, I called them up, and told them what was happening and that I wanted to be able to withdraw the funds or send them to my wife so she could withdraw them.
“There’s been something on your account that has flagged our security procedures and so you need to give it 24 hours and then try again, it will work then”.
Only, it didn’t work
So 25 hours later (Just to make sure that I was over the 24 hour mark), I was back on the phone with PayPal again.
PayPal: “We’re sorry, your account has been flagged by our security protocols, and we can’t tell why, there’s nothing we can do for you”
Me: “Wait so you’re telling me that I’ve received this money, and I can’t send it on or withdraw it? That’s ridiculous and unacceptable, please put me on to somebody else who can help me!”
PayPal: “Sure, let me get the contact center manager, however they will just tell you the same thing I’ve told you.”
Me (Getting really angry by this time): “In that case, put me on to your security team who decides what these security protocols are, so I can go through the list with them. I’m withdrawing money to the same account I’ve used, from an IP address I’ve used before. I’ve waited the 24hr period as requested, and I want to withdraw the funds!”
So, I’m put on hold
The contact center manager comes on the phone and introduces herself.
She asks me to go to a “classic withdraw page” by entering a specific URL, which is exactly where the PayPal website had been redirecting me to in the first place.
Again, it fails, and the contact center manager gives me the same spiel: “We’re sorry your account has been flagged for security reasons and you cannot withdraw or send your funds”
Me: “Why bloody well not? That’s not acceptable! I need to know why my account has been flagged so that I can fix it!”
PayPal Call Center Manager: “I’m sorry, you need to wait 24 hours and it will work.”
Me: “I’ve done that already, the funds have been there for days already, I’m sick of this waiting nonsense, I just want to withdraw the funds and nobody will tell me why I can’t. If you can’t, then I want to speak with your security team who decides those protocols, or speak with your manager so we can get to the bottom of this all!”
Again the whole “They will just tell you the same thing” comes out, but I insist. Having worked in a number of call centers before, I can tell when I’m being dismissed for no reason.
So I’m on hold yet again…
10 minutes later and I’m on the phone with a gentleman who announces himself as the manager of the previous person I was speaking with. Unfortunately it’s been a week now and I don’t recall names, but that’s not really relevant, so no matter.
PayPal Call Center Managers Manager: “I’m sorry that you’ve been having these issues, let’s try this classic style withdraw page”
… I feel by now there’s zero internal communication there, however I do it to humor him.
Sparing you the boring details, 15 minutes later after he changes some things on my account behind the scenes, and I’m allowed to withdraw the funds. I’m told by the website it will take 5–7 days. In addition, they’re charging me a USD$40 withdraw fee. Daylight robbery!
However, it does clear. It takes 6 days, but after a grand total of 2 hours on the phone with PayPal, they allow the funds to be withdrawn and they clear almost a week later.
Compare PayPal to DigiByte
So I went out to dinner with my brother and a friend the other night. It’s not something we’ve been able to do much of, given as a family we’d been tending to my ill father most evenings for a few months before he passed away.
We’re out at dinner, and as the three of us are finishing our meal, my brother goes to the bar and pays for the three of us.
Insisting I pay for at least myself, if not the three of us, I offer to send him DigiByte, as he’s not yet got the iOS wallet since it came out a few weeks ago and he’s been curious about it.
So he installs the app, I show him the sending / receiving and how it works, and send him the funds for the meals.
He then wants to pay for our friend, so our friend then installs the DigiByte iOS app. My brother then turns around and sends him some of the DigiByte. It’s in his wallet within a couple of seconds.
It shows in his account instantly, and there’s nobody in between to censor the transaction. There’s nobody to say “Sorry, your account has been flaged, and we can’t tell you why”. Provided they both keep their 12-word recovery phrase, they are both in complete control of their DigiByte!
That, is how payments should be!