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Fees are one of the biggest expenses in our eBay reselling business. Who would have thought that one of the main problems of earning money would be moving that money around?
Many people use questionable methods to avoid paying fees such as selling off-platform, mismarking payments, paying cash under the table, etc.
However, not all ways to avoid fees are bad. PPFF is one of the major methods used by people who want to move money without paying fees. While it does work, it’s not without significant risks for both the sender and receiver (or buyer/seller as the case may be).
PayPal PPFF is PayPal’s Friends Friends and Family service for sending money. PPFF differs from PPGS (PayPal payment for Goods and Services) by removing both the fee and PayPal’s Purchase Protection.
PPFF is available only in the United States and select countries.
The Purpose of PPFF
PPFF’s purpose is exactly what it sounds like, sending money to friends and family. It is meant to be a fee-free way to move funds, split costs with friends, send money to your kids/parents, etc.
As long as you send money using your PayPal balance (or a linked bank account) there is no fee. If you choose to send money using your debit card there is still a card processing fee.
The tradeoff is that you forgo PayPal’s Purchase Protection. This is, in theory, fine because if you are sending money to friends and family, you shouldn’t need protection.
PayPal’s Purchase Protection is primarily protection for the buyer when there are goods involved. If an item is significantly different than you expected (or the seller never sends the item) then you are able to file a claim with PayPal and get your money back.
How PPFF Is Used Erroneously
The average fee for sending money on PayPal is 2.9% plus $.30 per transaction. This is paid by the recipient of the money (the seller) automatically when the money hits their account.
To avoid this fee, people who sell locally or on forums typically state that their sale price is only valid if the person pays with PayPal PPFF. If the buyer pays with PPGS, the seller requires that they add 3-4% to cover the cost of fees.
Typically this is an “innocent” attempt to avoid paying a fee for the service they are using. However, it opens up the buyer to a serious problem.
If the seller is knowingly selling something in an undisclosed condition, the buyer has no recourse if they pay with PPFF.
Let’s say that a guy Dave decides to sell his hiking backpack on a popular camping forum. He convinces the buyer to pay with PayPal’s Friends and Family service (to save money). Well, one of three things can happen.
- Dave ships the backpack to the buyer and everything works out fine
- Dave ships the backpack to the buyer but it smells terrible, has a broken zipper, and is not in the condition that he promised it was
- Dave decides to keep the backpack (and the money)
In situations 2 & 3, the buyer is out of luck. They claimed that they were sending money to a trusted friend or family member with no product involved. They are unable to open a case and have no Purchase Protection.
So Should You Use PayPal PPFF?
Of course. PayPal PPFF is incredibly useful for its intended purpose.
If you misuse it you can end up getting burned.
Wisdom would dictate that you should never use PPFF to pay for a good or service. Even if you trust the person you should pay the fee for the service that you are utilizing.
There are several instances in which we do still choose to use PPFF and just accept the risks. For example, if you are purchasing something that is cheap or you would never return then you might choose to forgo PayPal’s Purchase Protection.
As long as you use PayPal’s PPFF correctly you will be in good shape. Just be sure that you don’t use it to pay for goods or you’ll leave yourself open to scams.
The express purpose of PPFF is to give people money so, if that’s not what you’re doing, use something else.