Millions of online shoppers with a PayPal account face being charged an ‘inactivity fee’ if they do not use or access their account for over a year.
From 16 December, consumers with PayPal who have not used or logged into their bank account-linked account for at least 12 months will be subject to a £12 a year inactivity fee, or – if it is lower – the entirety of their PayPal balance.
The US-based company said PayPal customers with an empty account – a balance of zero – will not be charged any fee, even if the account is still linked up to a bank account.
New fee: Millions of shoppers with a PayPal account will soon start to be charged an ‘inactivity fee’ if they do not use or access their account for over a year
Someone with, for example, a balance of £10 in their PayPal account and not used it for over a year, after 16 December will be charged a fee of £10 for that year.
But, if the customer has a balance of £12 or more in the account, they will be charged £12 if the inactivity applies. Someone with a balance of zero will not be charged at all.
PayPal, which is being replaced by eBay as its main payment partner later this year, defines an ‘inactive’ account as one where the user has not sent, received, taken out money or logged into their account.
In the new terms and conditions, it appears that it will not apply to PayPal account holders in Ireland or to ‘personal accounts registered in Hungary’.
PayPal will be contacting affected customers ahead of the change in December. The company will also be warning affected customers with inactive accounts about the fee two months, a month and then seven days before they are charged.
Anyone wishing to sidestep the fee can also simply opt to close their PayPal account before the December deadline. Customers can also just log into their account, with or without completing any transaction, before 16 December to ensure their account stays in the active category.
But, anyone planning to do this long-term will need to remind themselves to do so every year in order to avoid the fee.
Remember this: The US-based company said it will not be closing inactive accounts
Alternatively, anyone with cash in their PayPal account could log in to their account and transfer the balance across to a different provider. This could be worth bearing in mind given the £12 inactivity fee will not be deducted from PayPal accounts with a balance of zero.
PayPal customers have been targeted by scammers persistently since it became a leading payments provider. And with change like this, scammers are bound to try and impersonate the company with phishing emails to get hold of customers’ cash.
Anyone receiving an email purporting to be from PayPal should make sure it is genuine and report anything that looks like a scam to the company and Action Fraud. In genuine emails, PayPal will never start the text with a generic ‘Dear Sir/Madam’. They will always use your full name.
Also watch out for sender email addresses which do not look genuine, suspicious looking links and poor spelling and grammar in emails. Make sure not to click on any links you think could do not look quite right.