PayPal Personal vs Business Account

If you're getting into e-commerce to sell online, you're going to need a payment processor and the grandaddy of them all is PayPal. Without getting into the rights and wrongs of PayPal's business model, it's an easy choice for coverage, anti-fraud measures and simple technical integration.

Cutting to the chase, then, PayPal offers 3 Account Types: personal, business and premier. All PayPal accounts allow you to send and receive payments, so what's the difference?

There's no charge to have any of the 3 types of accounts, just transaction processing fees.

Personal accounts are really intended for shopping online or sending/receiving money to friends or family. You would need either a Premier or Business Account if you want to accept credit card transactions online or in person.  Your customers do not have to have a PayPal Account, they can check out as a guest.

Premier is for casual sellers or non-businesses who wish to get paid online, and who also make online purchases. There's no real advantage to Premier that I've come across, and PayPal itself steers you toward upgrading from Personal to Business for regular trading.

Business accounts are for merchants - basically anyone from sole proprietors to corporates, who operate under a company/group name operating any kind of commercial service. It supports typical merchant features such as Multi-User Access, allowing up to 200 employees controlled access to the merchant account and email aliases for customer service contacts.

PayPal allows you to keep your Personal Account alongside either a Business Account or a Premier Account. You can in fact have more than one Business Account assuming you have your businesses registered and each has separate emails, bank accounts and credit cards.

Most web platforms have PayPal gateways available (often via plugins) to get your website up and running with ecommerce, and PayPal makes trading incredibly easy with features such as PayPal buttons that you can put on just about anything, so you don't even need a full online shop if your inventory is simple. RC