Will inactive PayPal users soon face a fine?

PayPal is now implementing what has long been speculated. Customers who have not used the payment service for a long time will have to pay a fee in the future. But the fine does not apply everywhere.

PayPal has millions of users worldwide and is probably the most well-known of all online payment services. Paying for online purchases and sending money to friends and family is completely free. However, you also have to actively use PayPal, because the company has now introduced an inactivity penalty. TECHBOOK reveals what is behind it and whether it is also required in Germany.

After a year without registration, there is a penalty

Private customers who have not logged into their account for at least twelve months must therefore pay around 10 euros or the entire PayPal balance (if less than 10 euros) to PayPal in the first countries. That goes from the Terms of Use of the payment service.

However, users without a PayPal balance have nothing to fear, even after twelve months or more they are not threatened with a penalty. Because the company plans to only charge the credit – the PayPal wallet. Stored payment methods such as giro, credit or debit cards remain unaffected. According to PayPal, if an account no longer has a positive balance after being charged this fee and remains inactive for a further 60 days, this account can also be closed completely after this period has expired.

PayPal users who have not used their account for a long time and are affected by the fine will be informed in advance by the service via email. A separate e-mail should also warn affected users of the credit charge.

In Germany, no fine is planned so far

TECHBOOK had already spoken to PayPal in November 2020. At the time, the service indicated that the penalty fee was planned for some countries, but had not yet been introduced in Germany. Germany is currently exempt from the new rule. That’s exactly what it says on the website: “Personal accounts registered in Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Hungary or Poland are exempt from inactivity fee collection for 2022.”

As TECHBOOK has learned from PayPal, in other European markets the fine applies to “Paypal customers who have been inactive for at least 12 consecutive months”.

The press statement goes on to say:

The fee is charged once a year for an inactive account and is a maximum of 10 euros or is charged up to the amount that the customer has money in his PayPal account. For example, if a customer has a credit balance of 5 euros on his PayPal account, only 5 euros will be charged.

Also read: Does the tax office actually have access to PayPal accounts?

How to protect yourself from the PayPal penalty fee

Avoiding the fee is very easy. Users only have to log into their account once every twelve months. They are then considered active and the credit balance is not debited. If you use PayPal irregularly and are worried about the money in your wallet, you can simply transfer the credit to one of the stored bank accounts. As long as the balance is “0”, there is no threat of a fee, no matter how long users have not logged in. You do not need any credit on your PayPal account to use the payment service.