PayPal Glitch Slows Down Transfers But Boosts Security

Tom Brewster is TechWeek Europe’s Security Correspondent. He has also been named BT Information Security Journalist of the Year in 2012 and 2013.

PayPal tries to speed up service… ends up slowing it down

A PayPal glitch has caused more transactions than usual to be sent for review, slowing down many payments but boosting security at the same time, according to reports.

An update to PayPal systems, which was supposed to speed up transactions, led to more transfers being held up than usual. It became “somewhat overloaded” with additional checks.

“We have recently experienced technical issues that have resulted in more transactions than usual being reviewed,” a spokesman told the BBC. “Although most withdrawals are not subject to review, a minority of customers have been told it may take up to 24 hours for us to review the transaction.

“We expect to solve the technical issue by the end of the week.”

A happy mistake?

The changes were due to let users transfer money from their PayPal account to their normal bank account in just a matter of hours. Before, this had taken three working days.

PayPal, which is owned by eBay, is keen on improving its services, highlighted by a number of recent moves. This past weekend, it held a PayPal Hack-a-Thon, attracting over 60 entrants who were tasked with creating any kind of application they wanted as long as it used PayPal in some way and solved a particular problem.

Its biggest announcement of the year came in March, when it announced PayPal Here – a rival to Jack Dorsey’s Square payment product. It allows people to run their own payment service and accept credit cards, just by running a free app and a fully encrypted thumb-sized card reader, which can plug into iPhones and Android devices.

The PayPal platform remains popular, largely because of its use on eBay. Recent results showed it ended the second quarter with 113.2 million active registered accounts.

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