Collection Agent – PayPal : FAQ
PayPal is an organisation that facilitates financial transactions between people who do not know each other by acting as an intermediary between them. PayPal acts as the Paying Agent for the person who needs to make the payment and as the Collection Agent for the person who seeks to receive the payment. Through using PayPal, Payers keep their payment details secret from the Receivers and Receivers obtain comfort that payments have actually been received from the Payers. See below for more on this.
No – unless you subscribe for a Recurring subscription, in which case they will need you to have an account with them to enable them to retain your payment details so that they may process the renewal. Note that, if you have an account with PayPal, you are in effect using them as your paying agent. [For more information on Recurring subscriptions, see Membership FAQ.]
PayPal enables you to pay by credit/debit card in the normal online way albeit using PayPal as the interface. They may in effect set up a temporary account for you whilst processing your card payment and then offer to save that as a permanent account (in order to retain your payment details to make it easier for you to pay through them in the future) but you can tell them not to save your details. See here for a page in PayPal’s site which confirms this. [Please tell us if that link no longer works.] If you do open an account with them, you may never use the account again or you may be pleased to use the account for other purposes, that is up to you.
We have an account with PayPal. If you tell them to pay us then, as long as they have a means of settling with you, PayPal will charge you and transfer the funds (less their fee) to our account. For more information on this, see the next question below.
To our knowledge, PayPal do not provide credit facilities. To enable them to settle your transactions, you have to provide them either with funds in advance or with a means of recovering funds from you.
– If you have sufficient funds in your account with them then they will charge your account and tell us that they have cleared the payment.
– If you have given them debit or credit card details then they will charge your card account and tell us that they have cleared the payment.
– If you have given them just your bank details (and a mandate to approach that bank) then it gets a little more complicated because that will require them to approach your bank and apply for funds as if you had given them a cheque. PayPal use the word ‘eCheque’ to describe this situation. They will advise us that you have paid them by eCheque and that they will not credit funds to our account until that eCheque has cleared, which normally takes about 7 days.
Your account with us is separate and very different from any account you may have with PayPal. Think of us as a Library where you pay a fee to enable you to view our files. We have a standard merchant’s account with PayPal to collect fees, and you pay us through a debit/card card or account which is processed by PayPal, but that does not mean that your account with us has anything to do with your debit/credit card or PayPal account.
After you have input your subscription choice into our site, our site sends you to PayPal’s site and our system automatically sends a pre-formatted message to PayPal’s system which identifies who we are and tells them to open a page in their site which enables you to pay for the selected subscription. When you have completed payment, their system sends our system a code (which advises us that you have completed payment) and then returns you to our site. [You pay them and they credit that amount (less their collection fee) to our account with them and tell us that they have done so, confirming who you are and what you have paid but not giving us any details about your credit/debit card or account.] There is nothing ‘special’ about our account with PayPal at all so you should see no difference in treatment between payments of our fees and any other payments you make in Pounds Sterling via PayPal. Once you have completed your subscription payment, as far as Stirnet is concerned there is no reason for you to approach PayPal again until the time comes for you to renew your subscription. You may, of course, have your own account with PayPal or otherwise process other business with or through them. That has nothing to do with us.
PayPal will never tell us any of your payment details. Please remember that, if you have instructed PayPal to set up a Recurring subscription for you, they will be acting as your Paying Agent so that, when you want to cancel the renewal, you must amend the payment instructions within your PayPal Account. We understand that that is easy to do.
PayPal changes its site from time to time so we do not always know exactly how it processes payments at any particular time. After completing a payment, PayPal’s site may automatically redirect the buyer (in this case, you) back to the merchant’s site (in our case, this site) after a few seconds but give you the option of clicking on a link to return without waiting. In the past we found that, if you clicked to return too quickly, you could interrupt PayPal’s processing of the payment so that our system was not advised that you had paid. [We could still update our records manually to treat you as having paid but there would inevitably have been a delay before that could be done.] We have not experienced that problem recently but, if PayPal offers you the option to wait or click to complete the payment process, we suggest that you wait for at least a few seconds to make sure that that problem does not arise. This suggestion applies to all your uses of PayPal, not just when using this site.
If you make a payment to us through PayPal that takes time to be processed, such as through use of an eCheque, PayPal will tells us that and our system will treat your subscription as ‘Pending’ and so will not see you as a paid-up Member until PayPal have advised us that your payment has cleared. Should PayPal advise us that your payment has failed to clear then we will suspend your account until payment has been received.
We cannot give any guarantees about PayPal’s performance and, given that it is a multi-billion-dollar company whereas Stirnet is just a small family company, it would be presumptuous for us to do so. Nevertheless, it seems reasonable to say that PayPal offers as secure an online payment system as virtually any organisation you could think of, including some of the biggest banks. If you regularly carry out monetary transactions over the Internet then it is likely that, even if you have not come across PayPal before, you will do so again in the near future and will do so increasingly in the foreseeable future.