If you have a paypal account, you should look into using a security key to access your account. It’s an extra level of protection against unauthorized use of your paypal account. As you can see below, you can even use your mobile phone using SMS messaging for free. If you have a paypal account, this option is a no-brainer.
As you can also see above, there is another option to buy a $30 credit-card sized physical security key card from paypal. You may wonder why somebody would need that option. So did I. Fade out for flashback.
After opening a new business paypal account, I tried using my cell phone number for my security key. Apparently, you cannot use the same number that you already use on another paypal account. I tried using my Google voice number but it did not work for some reason. Paypal would accept the number, but I never got a text message.
Next, I got a pay-as-you-go disposable phone from Virgin Mobile. I chose them after looking at all the other options because unlike the other carriers, you keep your unused minutes with no monthly fees. So it cost me almost nothing to have this second number and use it for my security key. However, every 90 days, Virgin Mobile would force me to deposit another $20 into my account even though I still had money in my account. I complied for many months because it was still very cheap to keep my account open.
Then one day, I got an email from them that I did not pay my $20. I had setup automatic payment from my paypal account so I ignored the email. Unfortunately, it turned out that my paypal account had no money left and Virgin closed my account and I lost all the accumulated minutes. I called them and pleaded for my account to be re-activated and my minutes returned with no avail. How ironic that I got my Virgin account for paypal and my paypal account caused that account to be closed.
But I digress.
Fast forward to ordering my $30 VeriSign Identity Protection card from paypal and getting it a couple weeks later. For the life of me, I can’t figure out how this card is powered. It doesn’t appear that there is a battery in it, and there is no solar panel and yet, when you press the “Press Here” button, a new 6 digit security code appears on the LCD. High tech stuff.
Using this card is actually faster than using the SMS method because you don’t have to wait for a text message to arrive to your phone. Just press the button and enter the code on paypal to login.
Frankly, I wish my banks would utilize this same card for logging into their websites. As a matter of fact, they should use this same technology to authorize all credit card purchases That would pretty much wipe out all credit card fraud, online and otherwise. Am I missing something here?