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Paypal for Location Independent Business Warning

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Paypal is a revolutionary tool that helps make running a small location independent business a strikingly easy reality. Paypal is a conventionally accepted way to send and receive money, it is a way to pay employees, buy goods, and receive payments from anywhere in the world.

That is until they shut down your account.

I have been using Paypal to receive donations and make payments related to Vagabondjourney.com from all over the world for the past three years. Before this, I used Paypal internationally for personal uses. I am sure that my sign in log spans 5 continents.

It is readily apparent that international log ins should not, on their own, be taken as an indication that my account security has been compromised. This is why I am confused as to why temporary restrictions were placed upon my account after logging in and requesting money from San Salvador.

My account has not been shut down. I can still log in, I can still receive payments –feel free to make a donation ;-), but I cannot send money, or withdraw the money from my account without first going through a security check.

To complete this check I need to answer a phone call from Paypal at my permanent address.

While in San Salvador I had previously attempted to clear out my account and have a check mailed to my permanent address, which would then be deposited into my back account by my parents. I have been doing this periodically for many years — this is how I get the money from donations, advertisers, and other Vagabondjourney.com activities into my hands.

But my account has been restricted, I cannot receive my own money — I cannot have a check sent from Paypal to the same address that I have been sending them to for the past decade. This is the first time that I have had any problems.

To get my account functioning again Paypal says that I have to answer a telephone call from them at my home address, and then enter in a specified code. They say that this is a security measure “to make sure that I am at my home address.”

But I use Paypal precisely because I am NOT at my home address — I am traveling, I need a way to send and receive money while being independent of any one location.

I must wonder: how can I answer a telephone at my parent’s house in New York when I am in El Salvador? I suppose I call my father and have him pick up the phone.

I use Paypal because it usually works, people are comfortable using it, it is a truly great system. I only wish that the service could be better adapted to suit the needs of location independent businesses, and people who regularly travel between countries.

But even more pressing I must wonder why there is not a better way of certifying account usage for people who are using the service away from their home address.

I know that I am not alone in having this trouble. Paypal is used by people who run location independent businesses all over the world. This is becoming a common way to live and work. I am sure the Paypal reps are aware that people are using their service in this way — their service begs to be used as such. I therefore have difficulty understanding why Paypal presents so many barriers for location independent usage. IS there not another way to verify accounts that does not involve flying across the planet just to answer a telephone call?

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Filed under: Central America, El Salvador, Money

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 76 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3048 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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Wade Shepard is currently in: Polis, Republic of CyprusMap