Millennial Money has partnered with CardRatings and creditcards.com for our coverage of credit card products. Millennial Money, CardRatings and creditcards.com may receive a commission from card issuers. This site does not include all financial companies or financial offers.
Want to make money online? Then you need a way to collect digital payments.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a web designer or if you run an Etsy shop. Without a secure and convenient means for receiving money, your business can’t function. It’s that simple.
Fortunately, there are numerous digital payment vendors to help you out. And PayPal is the top one out there, hands down.
What follows is from first-hand experience. PayPal is the first payment method that I used when I started side hustling as an SEO consultant. I still use it today to transfer money and receive payments.
In this article, I’ll provide everything you need to know about PayPal, including how to get paid through it, what the processing fees look like, and more.
What is PayPal?
PayPal is a digital payment service that lets you collect money, make purchases, and transfer funds to other people over the internet. It’s available in more than 200 countries and supports 25 currencies.
The company was launched back in 1998 by Peter Thiel, Max Levchin, and Luke Nosek. eBay purchased it in 2002. In 2015, PayPal spun off of eBay and became its own independent company once again.
Before going public, PayPal received $216 million in funding. Currently, the company trades on the NASDAQ exchange under the PYPL ticker. The latest data suggest that PayPal has 377 million active accounts. Some of its top competitors are Zelle, Venmo, and Google Pay, but none of these companies come close to matching PayPal’s sheer volume.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s get back to why you’re here.
How to set up a PayPal account to receive and send money
From the onset, PayPal has always led the pack in terms of ease-of-use and online accessibility, which is largely why it’s so popular.
It should not be a surprise, then, that signing up for a PayPal account is super easy. In most cases, it just takes a few minutes. And you only have to set up one account, because you can use the same one for both sending money and receiving it.
Here’s how to get started.
1. Sign up
Head over to PayPal.com and click on the blue “Sign Up” button. You’ll see two options: one for a Personal Account and one for a Business Account.
PayPal Personal Accounts are for folks who want to use the service on a basic level. For example, if you’re just starting as a freelancer, this option is probably fine. You can send money to other people and collect payments for your services.
On the other hand, if you’re selling products online or want to accept in-person payments, you’ll need to process credit cards. You can do this with a PayPal Business Account.
Select the account type that makes sense for you, and enter your phone number and email address. Make sure you’ll always have secure access to this information. You’ll regularly need it to authenticate your account.
2. Link your bank account
You don’t need a linked bank account to receive and accept payments through PayPal on its own. However, if you want to transfer money out of PayPal, you will need to link a checking account to your PayPal wallet.
3. Verify your email address
The final step is to verify your email address.
At this point, you should be ready to send and receive payments through PayPal. Woohoo!
4. Create a PayPal.Me Link
You can use your PayPal.Me link to request money from clients or customers.
When the recipient clicks your link, it’ll prompt them to send funds to you via PayPal. They’ll also see your profile, so they can confirm that it’s you. After they send the funds, the money should appear in your PayPal balance in just a few seconds.
Next, let’s take a look at some other things to consider before you start collecting PayPal payments.
Different ways to get paid through PayPal
Here are a few ways you can use PayPal to process payments.
Ask companies to pay you directly
The most common approach for most of you will be asking your clients to pay you through PayPal.
For example, you might have a social media consultancy that pays $500 per month. In this case, it’s perfectly legit to ask the client to pay you $500 each month through PayPal.
Just make sure to account for your PayPal income at the end of the year because it’s taxable. So set a little aside for taxes as you accept payments throughout the year.
Accept credit card payments
If you want to collect payments from credit cards (online or in-person), you will need a PayPal Business Account. If you’re planning to sell products to many customers, you definitely want to take this route.
A main benefit of PayPal for Business is that the end buyer doesn’t need a PayPal account to make a purchase. The customer can use any major credit card to pay just like they would on a major retailer’s website.
There are credit card processing fees you’ll have to cover. But those are unavoidable, no matter which payment processor you use.
Freelance through Fiverr or Upwork
Keep in mind that Fiverr takes 20% of every transaction, whereas Upwork takes 20% (on earnings up to $500), 10% ($500 to $10,000), or 5% (over $10,000.01).
With that said, you’ll most likely earn more money by finding clients directly rather than through the above networks.
Complete online activities
Aside from selling your own products and services, you can also get money to your PayPal account for completing online tasks. Here are a couple of the more popular sites that pay out on PayPal:
- Swagbucks is a cashback rewards site. Once you rack up at least 300 Swagbucks (SB), you can request a payout to your PayPal account or through gift cards.
- UserTesting is a site that lets you test digital products and services and offer feedback. It pays $4 for every 5-minute test, $20 for every 20-minute test, and $30 to $120 for live interviews. All payments go through PayPal.
- SlicethePie pays for song reviews. Once you generate at least $10, you can easily cash out via PayPal.
Why freelancers and digital nomads love PayPal
Ask any freelancer or side-hustler that you know. Chances are, they have a PayPal account and use it regularly. This isn’t a coincidence.
PayPal is an essential financial tool for digital nomads. No matter where you are in the world, you can provide services and collect payments from clients. You can also use PayPal to sell products online.
Here are a few reasons why PayPal is so popular for entrepreneurs.
It doesn’t cost anything to sign up, and there aren’t any monthly or annual PayPal fees. So if you’re on a tight startup budget, PayPal is a no-brainer.
Furthermore, it’s completely free to send and receive money between friends and family members. And when you make purchases with PayPal funds, you won’t have to pay transaction fees.
One thing to keep in mind is that PayPal does charge for currency conversions. For example, if you have a European client, you might have to pay a transaction fee when PayPal converts the client’s Euros to U.S. dollars.
Once your PayPal strategy is dialed in, you’ll rarely, if ever, need to use brick-and-mortar banks. This is especially useful if you are traveling because you can do everything online.
Protects your identity
When it’s time to collect money from a client, all you need to do is tell them your PayPal email address. You don’t need to give them any other sensitive information, such as your bank account details or Social Security number.
In many ways, PayPal Cash is like a PayPal checking account.
PayPal Cash comes with a debit card that you can use to make everyday purchases wherever MasterCard is accepted. Funds are deducted from your PayPal account balance.
PayPal Cash customers have access to more than 32,000 fee-free MoneyPass ATMs. There aren’t any monthly fees, credit checks, or minimum balance requirements either.
If you frequently use PayPal to collect payments, a PayPal Cash account could eliminate your need to have to use a traditional bank account.
PayPal also has a referral program. If you know other people who are trying to make money online, you can earn $10 for each person you refer, up to a maximum of $50.
Is the PayPal app safe?
Yes, the PayPal app is one of the safest out there, and it’s well-rated on both Apple and Android devices.
In addition, the company offers advanced security features like an optional security key, data encryption, and email confirmation when sending and receiving payments.
In short, PayPal is completely safe, and you should feel confident about using it. I know that I do.
Should I use PayPal to receive payments?
Yes. I recommend PayPal to anyone who is side hustling and trying to make money online. As I mentioned earlier, I’m a long-time PayPal advocate and still use it today.
My favorite things about PayPal are that it’s secure, you can use it from anywhere, and you don’t have to wait several business days for payments to clear.
Can you cash out instantly with PayPal?
The Bottom Line
PayPal is a top payment option for self-employed people and established businesses alike.
In my opinion, it’s hard to find a better way to send and receive money. I also like using PayPal for online purchases because it’s convenient.
However, it’s important to remember that PayPal is just a tool. Sure, it can help you collect payments. But it won’t paint your masterpiece for you.
The biggest question that you need to answer is this: How can you maximize your earnings? While you’re at it: What side hustles should you pursue that you enjoy and have tremendous financial upside? Once you solve that equation, your PayPal balance will start to grow quicker than you ever thought possible. But only you can make that happen.
Good luck! I’ll be rooting for you every step of the way along your journey to financial freedom.
Additional Disclosures: Millennial Money has partnered with CardRatings and creditcards.com for our coverage of credit card products. Millennial Money, CardRatings and creditcards.com may receive a commission from card issuers. This site does not include all financial companies or financial offers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities.