How Do People Send Money to Your PayPal Account?

By Elizabeth Mott

If you're expecting money from a friend, family member or the winner of your latest eBay auction, your PayPal payment can draw from more than one of the sender's financial resources. Although some PayPal payments involve service fees, many incur no additional cost to either party during a financial transaction. You can receive funds through PayPal without revealing personal financial information, making it a convenient way to protect your privacy and still complete transactions.

PayPal Balance

Regardless of why someone sends money to your PayPal account, the first source from which PayPal draws the funds to pay you typically consists of the balance in that person's PayPal account. Whether she earns money through an online business or transfers money from a linked bank account, she can build up a balance from which to pay bills or send money to family. With limited exceptions, those funds provide the basis of PayPal payments. Unless the payment covers a purchase, you pay no fee to accept it, regardless of the payment method used to send you money.

eCheck & Instant Transfer

An eCheck draws funds directly from a PayPal member's linked checking or savings account. Unlike regular PayPal payments, it bypasses the balance in the PayPal account itself to draw on backup funding resources. If you need to receive a payment immediately, an eCheck may not be your best choice. These payments take between three and five days to show up in your PayPal account. Instant Transfers also draw from a bank account, but as their name suggests, they credit to your PayPal account immediately. Payments made using either of these methods won't clear unless the bank account used to pay you contains enough money to cover the amount.

Credit or Debit Card

Any PayPal member who links a credit or debit card to her account can use either of these payment methods to send you money. PayPal automatically draws from any PayPal balance first and accesses the linked account only if the payment amount exceeds the available PayPal balance. As of July 2013, using a credit or debit card to send cash costs the sender a PayPal fee of 2.9 percent of the payment amount plus $0.30, potentially making other funding sources more attractive.

Other Considerations

If someone owes you money for which you receive a PayPal payment notification, but you see no corresponding incoming funds on your online account page, verify the email address that the sender used in making the transaction. You may have given her an alternative email address that you haven't added to your PayPal account. When that happens, simply add the address to your PayPal account and the payment automatically appears among your credits. PayPal accepts a maximum of eight email addresses for an individual accountholder.