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Getting paid on PayPal is more complicated than it looks

GETTING paid for work via PayPal - a sensible option to avoid bank charges for currency conversion when working for a client abroad - can be more complicated than it looks.

The July 2020 Freelance included a late payments saga in which I eventually got paid after nine months for work done (apparently) for First Row Films Inc. in the US.

Much of the delay was down to me not knowing that there was a "Request payment" option on PayPal. Under this arrangement, when the work is done, the client sends you a link to "Request payment" from their account. You then have to follow this link and press the "Request payment" button for the money to be transferred to you.

It's good to know about this in advance of negotiating the method of payment when you get the work. If payment's been negotiated as being by PayPal it may be best to ask the client whether you need to "Request payment" from them, rather than expecting it to be paid into your account.

"Sorted," I thought, having clicked on the "Request payment" button - and having a few days later received an email from PayPal. This had the subject line "You've got money" and in its opening paragraph mentioned $300 US and the client's account name. Sorted, right?

No, actually. Make that ten months to get paid. The "You've got money" email doesn't mean you've got money in your account, as you would reasonably expect. It means there is money waiting to go into your PayPal account.

You then have to go into your account and click on the "Accept" button to receive the amount. And if you don't do so within 30 days, the money reverts to the account that is trying to pay you. I spotted this only after getting three emails saying I'd got money, and by chance opening the last one to read the warning about how it would revert to the payer if I didn't click on "Accept" within the next few days. So it's good to know before you agree to be paid by a client for work by Paypal, then.

A while ago we heard that PayPal doesn't work at all in Paraguay. If you're a resident alien in South Korea your bank will give you an account nunber identifying you as one - which means you legally can't open a PayPal account there. Any other tips from PayPal veterans on other less-than-obvious stuff that feelances need to know about the system will be gratefully received.