in the past few weeks I started to let my 6 year old daughter to play on my tablet, which had my credit card and my PayPal account linked to the Google Play store. And although it is not always connected to WiFi, today, when I saw her pressing a shop button in this game with “in-app purchases” I reconsidered my Google account settings and I decided to delete all my lined payment methods and only use the store credit, which I planned to purchase locally in the shops, keeping my account balance in the area of £5-10, as I don’t tend to make many purchases there (I already purchased the items/apps I really wanted, or needed and there is simply no need to have another connection to my bank account.
So I went and removed credit card, but when I looked in the PayPal option, it all became slightly strange. PayPal wasn’t showing as a method on my Google Payments page.
So I tried to purchase an app by selecting PayPal as an option trying to see how it will go and to my shock, after I confirmed the Google password (remember this, not the PayPal account password), the purchase was successful and the app started to download.
I didn’t like this as I was hoping to have a “double security” on my account, where in the first step, every purchase would have my approval by confirming Google password, and then, in the case of PayPal payment, confirming PayPal password. (I will now fast forward and will provide you with what I learned from PayPal employee, which was really really helpful. She said, that there is a MERCHANT on my PayPal account, which is Google, and somehow I must have entered into a BILLING AGREEMENT with this merchant, Google, which means, if I am purchasing anything on Google Play Store using PayPal as a method, I am billed to my linked PayPal account and even the change of the password on that PayPal account wouldn’t stop this billing, as the billing is linked to the account, completely ignoring what password I have on that account. So then she kindly cancelled this agreement, which means Google cannot bill my PayPal account anymore.)
This is what is on Google website about PayPal method:
And this is the information they have to assist users with removing a payment method from Google Play Store:
So I rang Google and asked them to remove my PayPal account from my Play Store account. After a few emails and phone calls, they successfully erased my PayPal account and it is now showing this method as “blank”.
Everyone was helpful and I experienced top quality customer service from both, Google and PayPal, although the second person I spoke to about my PayPal account was much more knowledgeable tham the first one, as the first PayPal employee didn’t even mention something like “a billing agreement”, which would save me time explaining to Google what is wrong. After the other PayPal employee, Sam, told me about this, within a few minutes I knew what is going on and she simply cancelled it and as Google already erased all my PayPal account details I achieved what I wanted.
Google has verification control process, as below, but the verification in case of PayPal, doesn’t provide user with extra verification by requesting PayPal login details:
The issue is, PayPal is a very popular payment method. And from the above it seems that its users are somehow mislead (well, at least I was) when selecting it as an option when signing up for Google Play Store services, that this will provide them with usual security (by requiring password approval, I mean PayPal password) when they are making Google Play purchases. But instead, if the user will set up PayPal as a method, and they pay by it, Google Play store will ask for Google password (if set up to ask) and then the purchase will happen. Which means that PayPal password is not requested. (Apparently this is achieved by the “billing agreement”, that somehow the user agrees for Google to take payments of his/her PayPal account without confirming the PayPal account details – PASSWORD. Which I think is a security loop hole.)
I am coming from a financial background (workwise) and it is all about security and I was always reminded to watch out for any weaknesses in the system. Now this might not be a big issue to some, but as I am longtime PayPal user and I really like using their service (as opposed to using credit card which I hate) and it was really disappointing to find out that if I decide to use PayPal on Google purchases, it will not, like it is normal on my eBay purchases, ask me to loginto the actual PayPal to complete the transaction, it will just PROCESS IT, robbing me of the extra layer of security, which as confirmed by PayPal agent, is what PayPal is for, providing extra secure payment processing.
Please let me know what you think about this. I have escalated this to Google and I hope to have some sort of update in future. For now, I am not linking PayPal to my Google Play store.
Some links that users can try (UK):
Request a call back from Google >>>
PayPal contact information >>>