PayPal Closes Money Market Fund

Did you know there was a newfangled thing called “PayPal”? It’s kind of convenient. PayPal acts like a bank, letting you move money around really easily and making it possible to handle your business’ collections efforts much more simply than was ever the case before it came along. PayPal even provides a debit card to access the funds you keep in your account, and pays interest on your money!

Whoops. Not any more.

On June 29th PayPal sent me this note. You might have received it too:

Dear Jeff Yablon:

Thanks for using PayPal and the PayPal Money Market Fund. Unfortunately, we’ve decided to close the Money Market Fund, effective 7/29/11.

What does this mean for you? PayPal will transfer any undisbursed dividends you’ve earned into your PayPal account within 7 business days after we close the fund. Don’t worry; you don’t have to do a thing.

Your 2011 tax documents will continue to be available on the Fund Summary page in your PayPal account throughout 2012. You’ll receive a tax statement from PayPal only if you’ve earned $10 or more in dividends in 2011.

Thanks for your understanding,


Listen: I do understand. PayPal has become so big, it no longer needs to win over customers, and no longer needs to care what its existing customers think. And let’s be clear: when you’re big enough you can make any rules you like and your customers will suck them up. Sad, but when you’re an 800-pound gorilla, business change is whatever you say it is.

But let’s be honest: most people didn’t even know PayPal had a money market fund, or a debit card; to many, PayPal really is still some newfangled Internet thing.

And I probably won’t be trying to retrain my customers to pay me using some method other than PayPal. As I said, PayPal makes collections way easier than any other method I know. And who needs the headache of the second, larger business change of moving away from PayPal?

Which, of course, is what PayPal is counting on.

If PayPal changing the rules of the game bothers you so much that you simply have to switch your business away from them, you do have options. One is to move to Google Checkout, which while not nearly as robust as PayPal is nevertheless a pretty decent facsimile and … it’s Google. Your customers are unlikely to object to you processing payments through Google Checkout.

Another far less robust but great lower-cost option aimed squarely at credit card transactions is Square. Square has even gone so far as to remove transaction fees from credit card processing costs.

I won’t be leaving PayPal. But I have no reason to let PayPal hold our money any longer; as soon as payments arrive at Answer Guy Central they’ll be headed off to the bank.

Business change isn’t always of your making; sometimes it’s foisted upon you by others. If you need help managing that change, well, contact me here. We can talk, and it’s free!

Share This