Normal to be asked bank account for a payment via Paypal?
Thread poster: Annabelle Vergne

Annabelle Vergne  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:58
English to French
+ ...
Aug 22, 2009

Hi everyone,
I recently worked for a French agency and to pay me via Paypal they're asking me to put my bank account number at the bottom of my invoice. It's a long time I haven't used Paypal for my payments, as most of my clients and agencies pay me by checks, but I do not remember of such a thing as the necessity to provide the agency with your bank account in such a case. They say it's necessary for their accounting services.
Am I being paranoid, or is this suspicious?
Thanks for any clue!


 

Ulf Norlinger  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 18:58
English to Swedish
+ ...
Yes, some agencies require this Aug 22, 2009

I have experienced the same thing. The solution was to create a "not-used" bank account (i.e. a dummy-account) with zero cash on it.icon_wink.gif

PS. It would be nice to see their reactions if they try to steal money from that account!icon_smile.gif)


 

Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:58
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
What can they do? Aug 22, 2009

There is no reason why they should need it, but I don't know anything about french accounting law so maybe they need it for some legal purpose.

However, what is the problem in giving it to them? I have clients that pay me with paypal but I also have clients that pay via wire transfer and they need all the account details (IBAN, SWIFT, etc) which I obviously give them.

Having your account number and name does not let them do anything with your account, they cant access it as they would need your passwords, they cant take money out (in theory they might send your account a "direct-debit" charge but as with any other charge, you can return it and not accept it), they cant use the info to enter your paypal account (they need your passwords).

So why not give it to them?


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:58
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It makes no sense to me Aug 22, 2009

Some agencies like to ASK, period. They'll want to know if your processor is Intel or AMD, what brand of shampoo you use, what's your favorite brand of beer (even if you don't drink beer at all).

If they are paying via PayPal, your bank account is none of their business. After all, you may transfer the funds from PayPal to an account in another bank, or even squander them online.

Were it Xoom, yes, they'd need your full bank account and other details, because the money will be sent right there.

I think too many grovelling translators have given too much leeway to too many translation agencies. The ones I work for might have a reason to ask what kind of food I like, because they'd probably invite me for lunch if I ever visited their home town. However most of them just get a kick out of making things difficult, especially at paytime - which seems to be your present case.


 

Joan Berglund  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:58
Member (2008)
French to English
odd, but harmless Aug 22, 2009

I have no idea why they want this info, but since everyone you have ever written a check to has had your bank account and routing numbers, putting them on your invoice really doesn't make you any more vulnerable to false charges . On the other hand, I can't imagine why they would want this info, and I am really curious.

 

Stanislaw Czech, MCIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:58
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
it divulges your location Aug 22, 2009

In case of doing business online and payment via Paypal bank account is one of few information indicating with significant accuracy where exactly are you based. Maybe this is a reason why they ask?

Best


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:58
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Accuracy? Aug 22, 2009

Stanislaw Czech wrote:
In case of doing business online and payment via Paypal bank account is one of few information indicating with significant accuracy where exactly are you based. Maybe this is a reason why they ask?


I don't think so. I've had bank accounts in Geneva, Zurich, New York, and Miami without leaving Brazil for that purpose. Actually I never set foot in Geneva. Conversely, a friend of mine lives in Miami, and has bank accounts in Brazil.


 

Stanislaw Czech, MCIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:58
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
significant not perfect Aug 22, 2009

I realize that it is possible to have accounts in various countries but these days a bank account is better indicator of a place of residence than postal address or phone number.

Cheers


 

Annabelle Vergne  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:58
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Many Thanks ! Aug 22, 2009

Thanks to you all for your input, it's really helpful. It's true also that practices differ from a country to another, and from an agency to another. It is probably harmless, but it just seemed to me complicated and odd and wanted to make sure this was not too risky.
Thanks again!


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:58
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Not risky, but invasive Aug 22, 2009

Next time they may ask about what color is your underwear.icon_smile.gif

 

NMR (X)
France
Local time: 18:58
French to Dutch
+ ...
Odd Aug 23, 2009

If they ask your bank account number, and this is nothing strange (most of my clients have my bank number+IBAN), why do they pay you by PayPal, which is rather costly, and not by direct bank transfer?

 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 10:58
Member (2008)
French to English
It is risky to reveal bank info unnecessarily Aug 24, 2009

I would not advise revealing a bank account unnecessarily. A colleague recently was called by a sharp-eyed account manager at his bank, who had received a letter in his name, signed (but obviously not with his signature), ordering a wire transfer out of his account to somehwere overseas. He doesn't know where these people even got his bank account info from, but somehow it got out. Thankfully, no money went anywhere, but these people have probably succeeded with others if they were trying it with him.

PayPal doesn't even require a bank account, so why should anyone want to know it? Part of the reason for PayPal is to be able to transfer funds without revealing your details. When I first had a PayPal account, I used the funds on account to pay other merchants - it never hit my bank account, which wasn't yet hooked up.

For the same reason, I never fill in the banking details on application forms that want bank account numbers, etc., when I hardly know the company. They can wait until the client owes me some money, and I presumably know them a bit better by then.

[Edited at 2009-08-24 18:58 GMT]


 

madak  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:58
Swedish to English
+ ...
Risky - how? Aug 24, 2009

John Fossey wrote:

I would not advise revealing a bank account unnecessarily. A colleague recently was called by a sharp-eyed account manager at his bank, who had received a letter in his name, signed (but obviously not with his signature), ordering a wire transfer out of his account to somehwere overseas. He doesn't know where these people even got his bank account info from, but somehow it got out. Thankfully, no money went anywhere, but these people have probably succeeded with others if they were trying it with him.


Where was the risk to your colleague? If the bank, i.e. one of its employees, is stupid/careless enough to accept a letter without verifying the sender's identity, they have to accept the loss. True, it might involve some inconvenience for you colleague whilst the whole thing was investigated and the money returned to their account.

Now, if the letter had included their security code or similar, it would have been up to your colleague to prove they had not been careless. But a bank account number is not secret information.

For the same reason, I never fill in the banking details on application forms that want bank account numbers, etc., when I hardly know the company. They can wait until the client owes me some money, and I presumably know them a bit better by then.


Neither would I, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with risk.That is totally unnecessary info until you have established a working relationship. So, as mentioned by José Henrique, any such request is unnecessarily invasive.


 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 10:58
Member (2008)
French to English
Would definitely be inconvenient Aug 24, 2009

True, it might involve some inconvenience for you colleague whilst the whole thing was investigated and the money returned to their account.


Exactly the point. And as the bank told him in that case, these things do occasionally succeed. Of course the bank would cover the loss, but why not take steps to reduce the likelihood to begin with? It was a large amount of money concerned and would have created a domino effect had it succeeded, even if only temporarily.

No, a bank account is not secret information, but there is no point in divulging personal information unnecessarily to people you don't know.

The problem is that people ask, without really thinking whether they actually need the information, and then you feel a duty to respond, especially when you're trying to win a new client.


 


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Normal to be asked bank account for a payment via Paypal?

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