I have a dilemma about multiple eBay and PayPal accounts. Wherever I go (forums/blogs) I get mixed responses and it’s still not clear to me what I can or can’t do.
Ideally I would love to work in 3 separate niches on eBay and use separate accounts for each – so that I can have a dedicated shop and template for each niche. Can this be done? Or do I risk losing my accounts if eBay finds out?
Your advice would be highly appreciated.
This question frequently comes up and for some reason, people are still confused. It’s probably because for years eBay and PayPal were very unclear about the exact rules governing multiple accounts. But nowadays, in 2013, it’s actually all very simple and straightforward.
Multiple eBay Accounts
On eBay you can have as many accounts as you want. eBay itself confirms this on the Help Page here. All you need to open a new eBay account is a separate email address. You can safely use the same name, address and contact information. All you need is a separate e-mail account.
Why would you need 2 or more eBay accounts? There are several possible reasons:
1) To sell in multiple niches.
2) To keep private sales and purchases separate from business transactions.
3) To use one account for buying and another one for selling when working with a used goods concept.
These are the most typical situations where you would need to have multiple eBay accounts and eBay is totally cool with that.
What you should be aware of though, is that all these accounts will be interlinked by eBay and that’s bad news. In practice this means that if one of your accounts get suspended/banned, the others will be closed shortly afterwards because from eBay’s point of view you will have become too much of a risk as a seller.
But these “hard bans” usually only happen when you breach eBay’s selling policies – like selling counterfeit or prohibited items. Another highly risky situation is if you use a dropshipper who lets you down, forcing you to refund dozens of sales which leads to loads of negative feedback (just another reason why I’m not a huge fan of dropshipping).
Can you use the same PayPal account for all these multiple eBay accounts? Yes, you can! You don’t have to even create new emails for each; you can use the same PayPal payment email for all your eBay accounts.
Multiple PayPal Accounts
What if you need multiple PayPal accounts too? Is it allowed? Yes, it is!
Under PayPal’s general Terms & Conditions you can have 2 accounts:
1 personal account
1 business account
But this comes with a note that you can have multiple business accounts upon approval/manual request. Now, don’t waste your time trying to find a special form or button on the PayPal website to request permission to open multiple PayPal accounts. There’s no such thing.
What you do is simply contact PayPal (from your existing account) when you plan to open a new PayPal business account and ask them if it’s ok to do so. I have done this many times and the answer always comes back POSITIVE in less than 24 hours.
You can of course open a new account without asking PayPal but that would be a breach of their T&Cs. It’s better just to contact them and get their approval to open another business account to avoid any nasty surprises later on (this hasn’t happened to me, but they may not let you open another account if your current account is in bad standing).
But remember, opening a new business account means that you’re opening it for a completely new business, not just an eBay account. For this, you’ll need company registration documents, a company bank account and ideally a credit card, too. You won’t be able to have your PayPal account verified and the account limits lifted without these documents.
Lastly, with multiple PayPal accounts the situation is exactly same as with multiple eBay accounts – if you mess up one account, chances are that you’ll lose all the other accounts, too.
And it can go even further: as you know, PayPal is owned by eBay. What usually happens is that all your eBay and PayPal accounts are interlinked. eBay knows exactly which accounts you own by tracking your IP address, name, address and financial information. If one of your eBay accounts gets suspended, chances are that all the other eBay AND PayPal accounts will be suspended too.
Sounds scary? It is very scary indeed! That’s why you want to do everything in your power to not let this situation happen. Do not sell dodgy items or work with risky suppliers. In most cases, people who lose all their accounts make stupid, costly mistakes. There are rare occasions when totally innocent accounts get banned but they’re very few and far between.
To sum it up:
1) You can have multiple eBay accounts – as many as you want in fact, as long as you use a new email address for each account.
2) You can have ONE personal account with PayPal and multiple business accounts as long as you own multiple businesses. To stay safe and in line with PayPal’s T&Cs, contact PayPal before opening a new/additional business account.
3) Follow the rules - both eBay’s and PayPal’s – to avoid your accounts becoming suspended. If one of your accounts is banned, chances are that you’ll lose them all.