11/15/07

How I Bought $76 of Gas with PayPal

A funny thing happened at the gas station the other night. Monetizer went to use the trusty PayPal debit/credit card after making a $120 sale on eBay. So there's over $120 in the PayPal account. Gas is not cheap and Monetizer decided to get just $4 worth to get around town for the next day until more money came in. Chose "debit" at the pump and got the whole gallon :) Afterwards, the plan was to go withdraw $120 and deposit it into the real checking account. Well lo and behold, the bank would not release that $120 from the PayPal debit card from the ATM!

Monetizer tried a second bank, since it was after 1 A.M. The second bank was also refusing the requests. Finally, the Monetizer headed back home and checked out what was going on online with the PayPal. Well it turns out, PayPal had put a hold on $76 for the gas station transaction of just $4! Frustrated, Monetizer searched the net and found an eBay forum where another guy had the same problem with a $30 transaction for gas, at an Exxon Mobile. He was charged $76 as well after his PayPal debit gas station purchase.

Turns out PayPal or the gas station does this to make sure you can cover the debit purchase. $76 does seem a bit steep though. Had Monetizer just done "Credit" rather than "Debit", this all would have been avoided. I emailed PayPal promptly about this and they emailed back the next day, then took the "hold" off my $76, releasing it back into the account. But it speaks largely to today's lesson on money. You need to be vigilant and know the rules for the moneymakers you use online, as well as other financial companies and sites you deal with or use (credit cards, your bank's fees, stock accounts, etc). Many of these places can be "sneaky" if you're not keeping a watchful eye.

A great example is of course Google Adsense. They frown upon invalid click impressions and for good reason. Studying the Google TOS is probably a great idea, because Monetizer has seen many newbies messing around and trying to get friends to "hook them up". That's a no no.

Some other programs have explicit and specific rules. For example, PayPerPost does not want you running Kontera contextual ads in the paid or sponsored posts you do. You'll need to use the special filter code seen here. On the flipside, ReviewMe.com allows you to run Kontera.

Most importantly, I wanted to bring the $76 charge from PayPal to everyone's attention. Gas is already expensive enough. If you're going to use your PayPal debit/credit card for filling up with gas, choose credit ;) Or, just withdraw all your money from every account you own and hide it under your mattress. It seems safer in today's internet-driven world.

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