Giftcards used to be available in many stores that sell gift-cards (with zero fees); but no more. Whatever works, ebay seems dedicated to CANCELING. I hear they still sell giftcards at Kroger's and Safeway, but we have none of those in this town. Used to be able to buy them online at giftcardmall -- but again, they're pulled. All that's left is "Cardways"; if you select "buy gift card" and PERSONALIZE, you can spend 5 bucks additional for a $100 card. But you have to have a credit card to use that; and PREPAID credit cards will cost an additional 5 bucks!
I refuse to give paypal a main stealable credit card number -- paypal got hacked several years ago, hackers had all numbers -- I didn't care, mine were Shopsafe numbers from Bank Of America; a unique card number for each transaction, only works once and then dies; completely un-stealable. But try to enter a sixteenth card number in paypal (16th purchase) and your paypal account CLOSES. Their escalations deparment actually told me, "You MUST put yourself at risk or YOU'RE NOT ALLOWED TO BUY ON EBAY". Outrageous and unconscionable.
So now it's either "GREEN DOT" to use cash to fund paypal (for $5, but if you invest several hundred it dilutes the fee) -- and I see they have a new paypal-prepaid-card for $4; still, I'm PAYING for PAYPAL'S INEXCUSABLE POSITION. Why in God's Universe would they forbid "Shopsafe" card numbers, disallowing users protection from fraud?
"Guest checkout" through paypal ceases after a few purchases; why? They're supposed to be IN BUSINESS TO MAKE MONEY, not dedicated to making it harder and more useless. Guest checkout would work fine for EVERY purchase, there is NO REASON not to! The last time I got "guest checkout" to work (using a Shopsafe number), the idiots at paypal then CANCELED my five videos, telling the seller, "This may not have been authorized by the buyer" --- and refunded my money. Not authorized by buyer? Who did they think they were refunding it to. No one contacted me (not even the seller!), videos got sold to someone else, "legal and binding contract BOTH WAYS?!" I had a scathing review under "Boy Who Could Fly VHS" for a year before it was taken down.
There is no legal ground for ebay to forbid "alternate payment"; many sellers accept checks and money orders, if a seller waits until payment clears the bank (usually within five days) it completely protects the sellers. Buyers with large positive feedbacks have established credibility. As long as the seller has not left the "auto-file-dispute-for-nonpaying-bidder" box in their profile CHECKED, there is no problem. Ebay is only a VENUE, the actual transaction is between two private individuals. Some banks offer free money orders -- and the U.S. Post Office ones are $1.30, can be verified INSTANTLY at any post
office, and can be exchanged for postage. Sending cash works too, but is a risk. But most sellers are honest, especially those with established good feedback. There are tricks to get cash through the mail without detection; stories about "cash detectors which work through sealed envelopes" are myth/urban-legend. Simply contact a seller and ask if they accept "alternate payment". They are free to answer "yes" (more profit, higher bids, etc.), or "no". I saw a seller who was apparently mad at paypal who said "MONEY ORDERS ONLY, NO PAYPAL!"
ebay software seems now to treat all "buy-it-now" auctions as "IMMEDIATE PAYMENT", preventing possible sales with "alternate payment" and reducing profit; where is the logic and reason in that. Are they not in business to make money?
NEVER accept a money order for MORE than the auction amount, with the request to "send the difference" (even offering to let the seller keep $5-$10). When the money order BOUNCES the seller is then liable for the whole money order, often bank fees for "bounced instrument", AND has lost the item; thus the value of waiting 3-5 days for a money order to clear, just like a check. Banks can charge fees for bounced money orders; again, if a buyer has lots of good feedbacks and no negatives, they're not going to steal (unless their account has been recently hacked). Usually a hacked account will suddenly offer high-priced items for SALE, the member only finds out when angry people start contacting them demanding items the member knows nothing about. I've heard of major football game tickets (on the 50-yard-line!) offered, buyer excitedly sends payment, and never receives anything; seller is flabergasted when he gets his account suspended! Never enter any name and password for ANY reason unless you have TYPED IN a site in your "browser address box"; ebay and paypal NEVER ask members to go to ANY site and verify names/passwords, and paypal notices always use the registered name -- never "DEAR PAYPAL MEMBER". If your name is "John Smith", the paypal notice will say "Dear John Smith". Even if you get a legit notice, don't click on links; type in "www.paypal.com" yourself and verify that it connects to a secure server (the address changes from "http://www.paypal.com", to "https:/www.paypal.com"). Always look for the "s".
So check your OWN ACCOUNT frequently to see if you're SELLING ANYTHING YOU DON'T KNOW about, and if you use "alternate payment" be diligent to SEND payment IMMEDIATELY. Never return ANYTHING without getting "proof of delivery" (especially overseas, I've lost money by being too trusting of dishonest sellers). Have fun, and most sellers will enjoy having fun with you. You'll meet some very excellent members of the great country of America, and equally nice people from all over the world! Those who are jerks usually get found out and their feedback reflects it; that's what feedback is for.