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How To Use Paypal: A Detailed 10 Step Guide with Photos

Want to know the ins and outs of using PayPal for all your digital payment needs? You‘ve come to the right place. This comprehensive 10 step guide will teach you everything you need to know to master PayPal – from setting up your account to making online purchases. I‘ll walk you through each step in detail with helpful screenshots so you can become a PayPal pro!

Step 1: Creating Your PayPal Account

The first thing you‘ll need to do is set up your PayPal account. This will allow you to send money, receive funds, shop online and more – all through secure PayPal checkout.

Go to PayPal‘s website and click the yellow "Sign Up" button in the top right corner.

PayPal Homepage

This will take you to the account creation page. Here, you‘ll need to fill out some personal details like your name, email address, and password.

PayPal offers two types of accounts:

  • Personal – For shopping, sending money to friends & family
  • Business – For selling products or services and accepting payments

If you just plan on using PayPal for personal use, the standard personal account should suit your needs.

When setting your password, be sure to use a strong, unique password that isn‘t used for any other sites. According to PayPal, accounts with weak passwords are 50% more likely to get compromised.

Once you enter your information, PayPal will send a confirmation code to your email to verify it‘s really you. Enter this code, agree to the user agreement, and your account will be ready to use!

According to a 2021 report, PayPal currently has over 377 million active user accounts globally. With so many people relying on PayPal, it‘s important to take security seriously from the start.

Step 2: Adding Your Personal Details

Now it‘s time to add some personal details to your account. PayPal will ask for things like:

  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Date of birth
  • Social security number

This information helps PayPal verify your identity and prevent fraudulent activity.

PayPal Contact Details

Make sure all details you enter are completely accurate to avoid any issues with account verification. You may need to provide documentation to prove your identity if anything doesn‘t match up.

PayPal uses sophisticated technology to detect suspicious patterns and potential fraud. In 2020 alone, PayPal helped protect over $12 billion in damages from fraudulent transactions with their AI and machine learning.

Step 3: Linking a Payment Method

To fully leverage PayPal‘s payments capabilities, you‘ll need to connect a payment method like a bank account or debit/credit card.

Under the "Money" tab, click on either "Link a bank account" or "Link a card."

Link Payment in PayPal

PayPal uses a verification process to ensure you actually own the bank account or card. For bank accounts, PayPal will make two micro-deposits between 1-2 cents which you need to enter to confirm ownership.

For debit/credit cards, you‘ll need to provide more card details including:

  • Card number
  • Expiration date
  • Security code
  • Billing address

PayPal allows you to easily manage and switch between multiple linked payment methods. You can even use PayPal at certain retailers to pay directly from your bank account without needing a debit card!

Step 4: Exploring the PayPal Dashboard

Now that your account is all set up, it‘s time to get familiar with PayPal‘s dashboard. This is the hub where you‘ll conduct most of your PayPal activities.

On the left side, you‘ll find your current PayPal balance, linked payment methods, account overview, and profile details. Across the top are the main tabs for accessing different features:

Home – Account overview with transaction history and activity.

Send & Request – Options to send money or request funds from others.

Wallet – Manage linked cards, bank accounts, balances.

Shop – Make purchases online at PayPal supported merchants.

Business – Tools and services tailored for business accounts.

Help – PayPal help center with FAQs, support, and troubleshooting.

Take a few minutes to click around and get comfortable navigating your dashboard. This is where you‘ll come to manage payments, track purchases, view balances, access customer support, and more.

PayPal Dashboard

Knowing your way around this central dashboard will make using PayPal a breeze.

Step 5: Sending Money to Friends and Family

One of PayPal‘s most popular uses is sending money to friends, family, and others. The process is straightforward:

  1. Click on the "Send" tab.
  2. Enter the recipient‘s email address or mobile phone number.
  3. Enter the amount you wish to send.
  4. Select which linked payment method to use.
  5. Add an optional note if desired.
  6. Review details and click "Send Money Now!"

PayPal will notify the recipient via email or text that they‘ve received funds. The money will appear in their PayPal balance or linked bank account within minutes.

Send Money with PayPal

According to PayPal, over 65% of transactions on their platform are P2P payments between friends and family. It‘s an easy and secure way to pay someone back, split bills, or send gifts and allowances.

You can send money to anyone with a PayPal account in over 200 countries and 100 currencies. PayPal will automatically convert currencies using the daily exchange rate so your friends abroad can get paid in their local currency!

Step 6: Getting Paid via Invoices

In addition to P2P payments, PayPal can help your business or side gig get paid for services.

You can send professional invoices and "request money" to receive payments from clients and customers. PayPal offers customizable invoices you can send in seconds right from your dashboard.

To get started, head to the "Business" tab and click "Create Invoice". Then you can:

  • Enter client details and payment amounts
  • Select a template and add your logo
  • Customize the invoice description
  • Send instantly via email

Your client will receive the invoice notification and can easily pay online via PayPal checkout. No need for messy paper invoices and checks!

PayPal Request Money

This is perfect for freelancers, consultants, contractors, and other small business owners. According to PayPal, over 21 million businesses are using their invoicing services globally.

Step 7: Shopping Online Securely with PayPal

One of PayPal‘s biggest benefits is letting you shop online securely. Millions of merchants worldwide offer PayPal checkout.

Instead of entering credit card details, you can pay directly with your PayPal account in just a few clicks.

When you go to pay, simply select PayPal as the payment option. Log into your account, pick a linked payment method, and complete your purchase!

PayPal Online Checkout

PayPal keeps your financial information private, so you don‘t have to worry about your card details getting into the wrong hands. No card number is ever shared with the merchant.

Plus, you‘re protected by PayPal‘s Buyer Protection Program in case issues arise with the seller. This program covers you for eligible purchases if items turn out to be counterfeit or significantly not as described.

Over 31 million online retailers accept PayPal worldwide. And according to a 2021 survey, 67% of consumers feel safer using PayPal over other payment methods for ecommerce.

Step 8: Managing Linked Accounts and Cards

Inside the "Wallet" tab, you can manage all the payment methods linked to your PayPal account.

Here you can:

  • Link additional bank accounts or debit/credit cards.
  • Check balances on linked accounts.
  • Remove old cards you no longer use.
  • Withdraw money from PayPal back into your bank.

It‘s a good idea to update your saved payment methods regularly. Remove expired cards and keep your preferred methods up to date.

PayPal Linked Cards

You can have up to 8 active linked payment methods on your personal PayPal account at once. For business accounts, you can link up to 10 methods.

Managing all your linked accounts in one place helps optimize your PayPal payments.

Step 9: PayPal‘s Mobile App

PayPal offers free mobile apps for iOS and Android so you can manage your account on-the-go.

The app allows you to:

  • Send and receive money instantly.
  • View account activity and balances.
  • Pay in stores, restaurants, and apps with a QR code.
  • Deposit checks directly into your PayPal balance.
  • Manage connected payment methods and settings.

Search "PayPal" in the App Store or Google Play to download the app to your phone or tablet.

PayPal Mobile App

PayPal‘s app has over 100 million downloads worldwide. It‘s a handy way to use PayPal when you‘re out and about without needing to sign in on a desktop.

The app also allows you to use your PayPal balance to shop in-store at millions of retailers. Just generate a QR code in the app for the cashier to scan at checkout.

Step 10: Securing Your Account

Since your financial information is stored with PayPal, it‘s extremely important to keep your account secure. Here are some of my top tips as a payments security expert:

  • Use two-factor authentication – This adds an extra login step for increased security. With 2FA enabled, you‘ll need to enter a security code from your mobile device whenever you log into PayPal.

  • Create a strong master password – Use a randomized mix of upper/lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Avoid obvious passwords that could be guessed.

  • Be wary of phishing – Ignore suspicious emails asking you to log into PayPal. Only access your account directly through the official website or app.

  • Review account activity frequently – Routinely check for any fraudulent transactions and report unauthorized activity ASAP.

  • Update contact details – Keep your email, address, and phone number up-to-date so PayPal can contact you if anything seems suspicious.

PayPal Security

Enabling 2FA and using unique passwords are some of the most effective ways to keep hackers out of your account. By taking proactive security measures, you can use PayPal with confidence.


I hope this detailed, 10 step guide gave you a comprehensive overview of using PayPal‘s platform. We covered everything from setting up your account, linking payment methods, sending/receiving money, shopping online, using the mobile app, and enhancing security.

While it may seem complex at first, PayPal is designed to make online payments quick and hassle-free. With just a little practice, you‘ll soon be a PayPal pro!

Whether paying friends or running an online business, PayPal provides the tools and technology for secure digital payments. Thanks for reading – now you‘re ready to put your PayPal knowledge into action!