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PayPal Is “Safer” Than Credit Cards: Watchdog Report

Despite the advertising industry watchdog saying it was no more secure than other methods, PayPal has been granted the right to refer to its online payment service as “safer” than the alternatives.

    According to a complaint made to the Advertising Standards Authority, the marketing claim made by the online payment service that it was “safer” than using credit or debit cards for online shopping was untrue.

    According to PayPal, the “safer” claim was based on how it stored users’ payment information so they were exempt from having to give their credit or debit card information to every retailer they made a purchase from.

    The complainant, an employee of, a competitor in online payments, claimed that the recent introduction of the “Verified by Visa” program made card payments “less dangerous than it used to be.”

    However, PayPal pointed out that not all retailers used the verification system, and that users still had to provide their information.


    According to PayPal, “Verified by Visa” primarily provided protection for the seller by lowering the likelihood that a credit or debit card was being used fraudulently and, as a result, lowering the likelihood that the merchant would be held liable for chargeback claims.

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    The watchdog disagreed, stating that PayPal “offered their customers an equivalent, albeit not identical, level of protection from fraudulent access to or use of their accounts.” PayPal is not as safe as using credit cards for online shopping.

    In spite of this finding, the ASA stated that PayPal could continue to assert that it was “safer” because it provided a distinctive alternative by allowing users to retain control over their payment information.

    The watchdog said it was reasonable for PayPal to claim that it was “safer” because it provided a recognizable safety feature that was absent from those other secure online payment mechanisms


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