RISC World

Alternative payment methods

We take a look at some of the alternatives to PayPal

For most transactions on eBay, PayPal is the perfect way to pay. It’s safe, trustworthy, secure and traceable.

However, there are alternatives to PayPal. Some sellers will accept cheques for items. If this is not stated in the “payment options” section of their listing, check with them to ensure this payment method is acceptable to them. Whether you are a buyer or a seller, you will have to wait for the cheque to clear before shipping the item.

Another method of payment is Escrow. An Escrow service is a third-party company, which holds an auction-buyer’s money until the buyer has received and approved the product. The escrow service then sends the seller the money. Escrow services usually charge a percentage of the purchase or a minimum fee for their services. Examples of escrow services are i-Escrow and TradeSafe. Don’t use any old escrow service that turns up in a Google search. eBay recommends the services of; if a seller suggests using another service, be wary. If you do use another service, be sure that the company is well established, fully licensed and accredited. A list of firms suspected of being fraudulent is at

Another method of online payment is BidPay. Once you sign up with, you can send money orders at the press of a button. We’ll take a further look at these methods below.

01: PayPal - Simple to set up, the ‘PayPal’ personal account includes everything you need to transfer money between you and someone else. The basic services provided within the ‘Personal Account’ are free, although PayPal do charge you for receiving money regardless of whether it’s through an eBay transaction or on a personal basis.

02: Escrow - eBay recommends the services of This third-party company holds funds until the buyer is satisfied with the item. It will then release the funds to the seller. The Escrow fee is a percentage of the transaction value.

03: BidPay - BidPay is useful when purchasing from sellers located outside of the UK, as it allows buyers to send international money orders. You have to open an account first; this is free, but you’ll be charged a percentage for each transaction.

04: Cheque - You could send a cheque, via old-fashioned snailmail. The downside is you have to wait for the cheque to arrive, then wait some more for it to clear. Note that it’s nearly impossible to recover funds from cheques in the event of fraud.

David Bradforth