PayPal is an online banking service that allows individuals and businesses to make and receive payments without disclosing their credit card or banking information to third parties. You can choose the currency you want to hold your account in, leave a balance on your account or withdraw it, and make payments directly from your PayPal account, with your credit or debit card or by direct transfer from your offline bank account. Although it's easy to set up an account, PayPal limits its use until you confirm your identity by verifying your account.
Verification requires you to add a bank account and optionally a debit or credit card to your PayPal account. In the UK you need to set up bank funding to comply with the verification procedure. This is a two-step process that can usually be completed within a few days. If you have a business or premier account you will be asked for additional business information.
PayPal in the UK is governed by EU banking laws and restrictions, designed among other things to guard against money laundering. A High Street bank will not open a bank account for you unless you can provide proof of identity and address, such as utility bills. As an online banking service Paypal will allow you to open an account using only your name, location and email address, but places limits on the amounts you can send, receive or withdraw until you verify your account and confirm your address.
After you've provided PayPal with your bank account details and agreed to allow withdrawals by direct debit, PayPal will deposit two small amounts into your bank account. You need to enter these two amounts on the PayPal website to prove you have access to the account.
To comply with EU law, PayPal is required to set a maximum receiving limit of £1,900 until you confirm your postal address in addition to verifying your account. You may also be required to link and confirm a debit or credit card. Once you've reached your sending limit, you won't be able to send or withdraw money or close your account until you've completed all the steps. You can see your personal limits by logging into your account and clicking the "View Limits" link on the "Account Overview" tab.