I use PayPal almost exclusively for my online transactions. It’s fast, it’s easy, and very convenient. I go out of my way to find merchants that accept PayPal as a payment option. Unfortunately as I turn more and more of my shopping online I’m finding that many niche stores don’t offer PayPal as a payment type, just credit cards, which is okay, but I’d prefer to use PayPal for all my online purchases.
PayPal’s “Killer App”
I’m usually opposed to BHO’s, toolbars, and other stuff that gunks up my web browser, so when I recommend one, you know it’s good.
This does several things that are just cool:
- You can auto-fill the form (cool, but has never been worth it a separate download/install)
- You can quickly view your PayPal balance
And the killer app? You can generate a “secure card” What’s a Secure Card? It’s a one-time-use credit card number that you can use to make payments to merchants that don’t accept PayPal as a payment method.
But it does more than just that. Even if you wouldn’t have used PayPal, this keeps your personal credit card number secure. You no longer have to send your credit card number whizzing through cyberspace to a merchant that you may only buy from one time. That’s awesome and a long time in coming. I’ve heard that American Express has offered this service to some of their customers from some time now, but it’s always been a process of logging in to their site, navigating to the one-time-use card number generator, then going back to the vendor, and filling in all the blanks. What a pain for a bit of added security. PayPal puts all this in your web browser right at your finger tips.
How they screwed it up
I first learned about PayPal’s browser plug-in just after Firefox released their latest browser (3.0). I visited PayPal.com and was greeted with an ad to download their “new plug-in.” So I did. And it installed. And it asked me to restart Firefox. So I did. When Firefox 3 restarted I was told I had an incompatible plug-in and I should check for updates. So I did. No updates for the PayPal Plug-in that I’d just installed. Nice.
To Whom Should we Complain?
Chris George from PayPal’s financial products team is the guy to direct your anger, frustration, and angst.
Why, Chris George, didn’t you detect that I was running Firefox 3 and decide to NOT show me the ad for the plug-in that’s NOT compatible with my browser?
Why, Chris George, now that Firefox 3 has been out for a while do you NOT have an update for your plug-in?