The holiday season is here, if you haven't already seen traces as the department store or heard the chiming music on the radio. If life has got you busy or you live in a metropolis like New York City, holiday shopping is often overwhelming and tiring. What sounds better - a mall full of sweaty cranky shoppers or clicking through in your pajamas with a steaming mug of chai tea next to you?
Let your mailman do the heavy work this holiday season and do your shopping online. PayPal is more than just a way to pay for purchases securely. Back in March, the company launched their shopping portal, which offers deals exclusively for PayPal users. The current holiday deals are happening now and will last through early January, satisfying both early birds and late shoppers.
Here, PayPal's personal online shopping expert Beth Strobel gives us the low-down on how to use the portal, along with shopping tips that will get you through the holiday season.
1. Keep track of holiday spending budgets.
You can transfer money from either a debit card or a bank account into your PayPal account. That way, you can keep track of your spending and not go over budget.
2. Never miss a sale.
You'll receive email alerts for when new promotions are available at your favorite retailers along with your rewards balance so you never miss a shopportunity.
3. Ensure that you get the best price.
Imagine that it's Black Friday and you're standing in front of a huge electronics store. You think you're getting the best deal until you return home and find a lower price in a competitor's circular. Comparison shopping is easy online - just browse Shopping.com or BizRate.com to see what the selling price is elsewhere. Doing your research equals ensuring the best value for your money.
4. Discounts are applied instantly.
You don't have to login on a certain site or use a promo code. In fact, PayPal hardly uses promo codes. Most times, the discount is in the form of cash back, gift cards or a percentage off your purchase. As you're ready to check out, choose to pay with PayPal and you'll be reaping the rewards before you can say "Ho, ho, ho."
5. Payments are more secure - and quick.
When you choose to pay with PayPal, that means you don't have to keep re-entering your credit card information every time you check out. Be sure to avoid clicking "save information for later," since you are more prone to having that information stolen.
Pay attention to the fine print.
It's time to do a cost-benefit analysis. Purchasing online might not be the best bet if:
1. The shipping costs outweigh the time and gas spent to get to the store itself.
2. You have to keep the original packaging that the gift came in.
3. Pay for return postage and ship it yourself.
PayPal's Chief Security Officer Michael Barrett reminds users to always use safer passwords that are long and contain a variety of symbols, numbers and characters. If something appears too good to be true, it probably is so be mindful about clicking links in SPAM or chain letters. To ensure that your computer is safe, install anti-virus software in addition to making sure your Internet browser is up to date.