How to Set Up a PayPal Account

PayPal is an online payment system that lets you shop without having to enter your credit or debit card information on the web. You can easily set up a PayPal account and start using it in a matter of minutes. This wikiHow teaches you how to create a new PayPal account and add a payment method so you can start spending, sending, and receiving money online.


[Edit]Creating an Account

  1. Go to in a web browser. You can use any web browser to create your PayPal account.
    Set Up a PayPal Account Step 1 Version 5.jpg
    • If you’d prefer to use a mobile app on your phone or tablet, download the official PayPal app from the Apple App Store] or Google Play Store. You can always download the app after creating your account on PayPal’s website.
  2. Click . It’s one of two oval buttons in the upper-right corner of the page.
    Set Up a PayPal Account Step 2 Version 5.jpg
  3. Choose an account type and click . When signing up for PayPal, you’ll have two account type options:
    Set Up a PayPal Account Step 3 Version 5.jpg
    • Personal accounts are best for most people—they allow you to send and receive payments and shop wherever PayPal is accepted. To create a personal account, you’ll need to provide your full name, address, phone number, and email address.[1]
    • If you run a business and want to accept PayPal at the register or on your website, select Business Account. You’ll need to provide all of the same information as you would with a personal account, as well as your business EIN or SSN.[2]
    • You can always convert a personal account to a business account later, but you can’t change a business account to a personal account.
  4. Enter your mobile phone number and click . When creating a personal account, you’ll need to provide a mobile phone number to verify your account. As soon as you click Next, PayPal will send a confirmation code to that phone number via SMS.
    Set Up a PayPal Account Step 4 Version 5.jpg
    • If you’re creating a business account, you’ll be asked to enter your email address instead.[3]
  5. Enter the confirmation code to confirm. Once the code is confirmed, you’ll be asked to enter additional information.
    Set Up a PayPal Account Step 5 Version 5.jpg
    • You can skip this step if you’re creating a business account.
  6. Enter your personal or business details and create a password. The information you’ll need to enter is a little different depending on the type of account you’re creating. Enter all required information, including your full name, and create a secure password for your account.
    Set Up a PayPal Account Step 6 Version 5.jpg
    • If you’re creating a personal account, be sure to use your full legal name to avoid any issues transferring money to and from your bank account. When you’re finished entering information, click Next to continue.
    • If you’re creating a business account, enter the address of your business and provide all additional requested details.
  7. Follow the on-screen instructions to create your account. After providing all details, you’ll need to agree to PayPal’s terms and policies before you can start using your account. Once you agree, you’ll be ready to set up your account so you can send and receive money.
    Set Up a PayPal Account Step 7 Version 4.jpg
    • If you’re creating a business account, you’ll be asked to enter some more information about your business, such as providing the type of business you have.

[Edit]Adding a Payment Method

  1. Sign in to your new PayPal account. If you just created your account, you’ll probably be asked if you want to link a bank account. But if not, you can go to and click Log In to sign in now. The Log In button is in the upper-right corner of the page.
    Set Up a PayPal Account Step 8 Version 3.jpg
    • Once you add a payment method to PayPal, you can use it to send money
    • You can use PayPal without linking a bank account or debit card, but you’ll only be able to send money to (and receive money from) other PayPal accounts. You can only transfer money from PayPal to you bank account if you’ve linked it.
  2. Click the tab. It’s at the top of the page.[4]
    Set Up a PayPal Account Step 9 Version 3.jpg
    • If you created a business account, click the Pay & Get Paid tab at the top and select Money from the menu.
  3. Click . This button is near the top of the page.
    Set Up a PayPal Account Step 10 Version 3.jpg
  4. Choose the type of account you want to link. You can add multiple payment methods if you wish, but for now, start with one.
    Set Up a PayPal Account Step 11 Version 2.jpg
    • Click Link a debit card or credit card to link any payment card. This option is geared toward making purchases online. You can also use this option to add a prepaid gift card from Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover.
    • Click Link a bank account to link a bank account. This option lets you withdraw money from your PayPal account to your personal or business bank account.
  5. Select your bank if listed. If you chose to link a bank account or have a bank-issued debit or credit card, check to see if your bank is listed. You can use the search bar to search for it by name if you don’t see its logo. If your bank is listed, you’ll be able to enter your online banking login information to automatically link your account.
    Set Up a PayPal Account Step 12 Version 2.jpg
  6. Enter your account information. If you were able to select your bank from the list, follow the on-screen instructions to log in and confirm. If your bank wasn’t listed, you’ll have to enter the info manually:
    Set Up a PayPal Account Step 13 Version 2.jpg
    • Checking or savings account: Type the account number and routing number when prompted. You’ll find these numbers at the bottom of a check or on your banking statement.
    • Debit or credit card: Type the card number, expiration date, 3-digit CVC code, and other info when prompted.
  7. Click (bank account) or (credit/debit card). If you were able to sign in to your online banking system to link a bank account (or if you linked a credit or debit card), your payment method is now connected to PayPal.
    Set Up a PayPal Account Step 14 Version 2.jpg
    • If you typed your bank account number manually because your bank wasn’t listed, check your bank account in 24-48 business hours. PayPal will make two small deposits into your account, totaling less than a dollar. You’ll need to enter these two values in order to confirm that you are the owner of the bank account.
    • To confirm your deposits after 2 business days, log back in to PayPal, click the Wallet tab, select your bank, choose Link your bank another way, and enter the two amounts as they appear on your statement. Click Submit to confirm.

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[Edit]Quick Summary

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Google Assistant Should Be Ashamed of Its Smart Home Routines

For years I’ve said that automation is the key to great smart homes. Voice controls are nice, but a system that anticipates your needs is better. Despite preferring Google smart home devices, I can’t switch to them entirely. Why? Because Google Assistant routines are trash. Google should be ashamed.

Automation comes in several forms in the smart home world. Traditionally to get great automation, you’d want a smart home hub like Hubitat or Home Assistant. And while it’s true, Hubitat’s automation capabilities outstrip Google or Alexa by far; the truth is most average people don’t need a traditional smart home hub anymore.

Both Alexa and Google can serve as the “modern hub” and tie together smart home devices. In the past few years, I’ve noticed a trend towards Wi-Fi-powered smart home devices and away from ZigBee and Z-Wave (Philips Hue being the major holdout). That turn makes the idea of relying on traditional smart home hubs more difficult in the first place.

Both Alexa and Google offer smart home automation through routines—commands that run on their own based on a trigger your choose. It doesn’t have to be a voice; it could be controlled by schedules like at sunset or sunrise—or more.

What Routines Can Do

Smart blinds lower in a living room.Shade Shop

So why is automation essential, and what can routines do anyway? If you have a smart home now, think about how you primarily interact with it. Chances are, it’s probably by voice or through an app. If you need to turn a light on, you ask a smart speaker or pull out your phone. Some would argue that’s not much more convenient than flipping the light switch.

The same goes for smart plugs, blinds, locks, and more. Realistically speaking, with just voice or app control, the convenience level isn’t much better than the old-fashioned way of doing things. Automations, on the other hand, change the game. Instead of your home reacting to your commands, it can anticipate your needs.

In my home, I have scheduled automations that fire every day. In the morning, my coffee maker outlet turns on, the blinds in our two home offices rise to let in light. As evening approaches, the blinds lower automatically, and doors lock themselves. And the coffee outlet that turned on in the morning? That powered down before lunch.

The Alexa app showing many routines.I have at least two dozen routines with various triggers.

Speaking of the doors, we sometimes forget to lock them when we leave home. So four minutes after we unlock a door, it locks itself—no more forgetting. But we don’t just have automations on a schedule. When the sun sets, the lights in the dining room, kitchen, and elsewhere automatically turn themselves on when we enter a room. When we leave, they turn back off. My family doesn’t have to ask; it just happens based on our presence.

That’s thanks to motion sensors in each room and a routine that fires on some basic logic. If the sensor detects motion, it triggers a routine that turns on the lights in that room. When the sensor stops seeing motion, it triggers a second routine to turn the lights back off. Other routines occur when I leave home, or when I come back thanks to a location trigger.

When someone opens our mailbox, a sensor just inside triggers yet another routine to announce in the home that “the mail is here.” In my home, routines trigger due to schedules, voice commands, smart device functions, camera notifications, and more. We still use voice commands, but often we don’t have to because my smart home already did what I needed before I asked.

But that’s no thanks to Google.

Except Google Can’t Do Most Of That

Two lists, the one of the left much longer.Alexa’s Triggers on the left, Google’s Starters on the right.

When I’d advise most people exploring smart homes for the first time, I tell them to pick an ecosystem and stick with it. Choose Alexa or Google Assistant; most people don’t need both. I prefer Google Assistant for voice commands and Nest Hub displays for their fantastic photo capabilities. Despite that, I’m breaking my own advice and have Alexa and Echo smart speakers in my home.

Part of that is because of my job—I write about smart homes, so having a little of everything on hand is helpful. But the other part is because while I prefer Google’s smart home devices, its routines are astoundingly awful. I keep Alexa around for the routines.

The problem is, Google doesn’t approach routines the same way Amazon does with Alexa. Over on Alexa, routines are treated as a total smart home solution. But on Google Assistant, routines look more like a “voice command replacement.” You can create routines that fire off several functions from a single voice command, for instance. That can be handy if you want to turn off multiple lights throughout the home with a simple “good night” command.

But beyond that, your “starter” (Google’s equivalent to Alexa’s “trigger”) choices are limited. You can choose voice command, time, sunrise/sunset, and “dismiss an alarm.” That’s it. Compare that to Alexa, where you can select voice command, schedule, smart home devices, location, alarms, echo button, sound detection, and guard. All those extra choices add up quickly.

On Alexa, I can create routines that trigger from the smart sensors in my home. Confusingly those same sensors show in the Google Home app, but I can’t make routines for them or in the Google Assistant app. If converted over to a Google-powered smart home entirely, my smart lights would no longer turn on and off as I move through my home. My mailbox would stop telling me when the mail arrives. My smart locks wouldn’t even lock themselves anymore—unless I turned to another app.

Why Doesn’t Google Fix The Problem?

An illustration of the Google Home app and Nest devices.Google

If Google really wanted to, it could easily make its routines more powerful. This is a company that leads in voice assistant capabilities. The same company that turned photo storage on the side of its head and created a new A.I. that makes its smart displays the best smart displays. Google designed camera software that kicked off a new revolution in night photos. And at the same time, Google created a system that gave Pixel’s phone capabilities superpowers. It’s no stranger to advanced concepts in A.I., smart home, or advanced coding concepts.

Yet while Amazon continually adds to its routine options, like a recent new feature that triggers routines from the sound of a dog barking or a baby crying, while Google occasionally adds new features. Google only recently added basic scheduling and delay options, things Amazon added to Alexa years ago. Alexa will even act on “hunches” and turn off lights or other devices when the system notices you accidentally left things on overnight or when you aren’t home. Google doesn’t have anything like that.

In comparison, Google’s routines and automations are a joke. And it’s frustrating because it leaves me maintaining two smart home systems in my home: one for voice commands and the other for automation. In smart homes, that’s the opposite of what you want. And Google, through its drive with the Matter smart home initiative, talks a big game about a universal system where it won’t “matter” what devices you won.

Until Google’s smart home routines catch up to at least Amazon’s progress, it’s hard to see the truth in that at all. Right now, if you want the best smart home voice commands and the best accessible automations, then you need a home full of Google smart speakers and displays and one Amazon Echo. The Echo will get you the routines, and Google’s hardware can do the rest.

But that’s not the dream of the smart home. No one wants to maintain two systems and hop back and forth between apps. And frankly, that’s Google’s fault. It’s an unforced error that’s preventing Google from truly dominating in the smart home realm. And we’re worse off for it. Google should be ashamed. And the first step is admitting the problem. Google routines are inferior compared to the competition. The second step? Fix it. Sooner than later.

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