PayPal remains one of the most popular ways of accepting online payments, so you’re bound to be using it if you’re involved in online business. A question that comes up sooner or later is whether you should open a separate business account for each of your brands or products.
Separation of Personal and Business PayPal Accounts
First of all, I want to clarify that you should, first of all, have separate personal and business PayPal accounts. This is allowed by PayPal as detailed in this FAQ. You shouldn’t be mixing your personal transactions with those of your business. You should keep separate personal and business bank accounts and you should also do likewise with PayPal. Then link the personal PayPal account to your personal credit card or bank account, and the business PayPal account to your business credit card or bank account.
With that out of the way, the next stage as you continue to grow your business will be launching and selling more than one product. With revenue from both of these products coming in through the same PayPal account, there can be some challenges.
The first challenge you will encounter is that of accounting. Since you will be seeing the total amount of revenue generated from both your businesses, it will be hard to visualise at a glance how much of that revenue belongs to each business. Of course you will also hopefully have good reporting facilities from the e-commerce platform you are using which will somewhat compensate for this disadvantage. Moreover, if you are accepting payments through other systems apart from PayPal (e.g. Stripe/Braintree), you shouldn’t be looking at the revenue stats in PayPal as a measure of how you’re doing because that figure will be missing all other payments that would have come through via the other payments systems.
What to do if you have a separate company for each brand
As long as you have separate companies, there should be no issue at all. A company is legally distinct from its owner. Each can and should have its own bank account, credit card, email, etc.
As a result, you will be able to sign each one up individually at PayPal. You will be the representative of your company for each PayPal account, but the PayPal accounts will each belong to the respective company.
And if you don’t have a separate company for each brand?
Here’s when things get tricky. Many business owners create a company and then sell a number of products/brands from that one company. This is usually when the question arises about whether they should have separate PayPal accounts for each product/brand.
There are a number of pros and cons for each way to go and no clear answer to this question.
If you are planning to spin off and sell a particular product or brand, you should always create a separate PayPal account for it and treat it as a separate entity from the rest of your business. During the selling process and the due diligence period, it will be so much easier for you and the buyer if you have a separate PayPal account housing the transaction of just that product that you will be selling off. Otherwise, you will have to filter things that can get messy, plus you won’t be able to just transfer the ownership of that product’s PayPal account to the new owner, which is a disadvantage for them as they won’t get the history of that account. This will affect your selling price so keep that in mind.
For the new owner, having a PayPal account that has been previously set up and having everything working smoothly is a very important bonus. The changeover will be easier and they will have a handy history of every transaction recorded from the inception of that product. Moreover, you have to also keep in mind that PayPal allows lower transaction rates depending on your monthly volume of sales.
Another thing to consider is whether you will have subscriptions and recurring payments processed through PayPal. If that’s the case I would recommend using two separate Paypal accounts as it will be very messy or downright impossible to move over those subscriptions to a new account in the future if needed (for example in the case of a sale of one of the products to a new owner).
Most e-commerce software systems provide additional and handy functionality through PayPal’s IPN system. This can allow you to do things like give refunds from the e-commerce system itself rather than having to log in to your PayPal account to process the refund. If you use PayPal Standard, you can use a single account for multiple sites. If you use PayPal Express, you need to use a separate account for each site. This is because PayPal Standard supports multiple IPN URLs while PayPal Express only supports one.
Now if you decide to go for one PayPal account to cover all your products, it might be a good idea to still pass your payments through separate email addresses linked to the same PayPal account. This is very useful if you are receiving payments from several different sources. To give you a concrete example, imagine a blog having affiliate arrangements with tens or hundreds of product vendors. If they all have their own affiliate systems, as is frequently the case, you would have signed up with each vendor and gave them your PayPal email address. Now if in the future you sell that blog, the new owner would have a very tedious job having to log in to each of these affiliate accounts and change the PayPal email address to his instead of yours. However if you had used an additional email address to your company’s PayPal account, the transition would be much smoother. You would just have to unlink that email address from your company’s PayPal account, and concurrently the new owner would add that email address to his company’s PayPal account. From that moment onwards all payments will reach the new owner’s account, without having to change any settings on the vendors’ side.
An important pro for having just one account for all your brands (if you don’t plan to sell in the immediate future) is easier management. You don’t have to log in to several PayPal accounts to check on things, you just have one account. Another potential issue with having multiple accounts is which account to process expenses from. If it’s not easy for you to associate expenses to a particular product, it might be a struggle to choose which PayPal account to use for them. For example, if you are using a backup service for all your product sites, and you want to make an automatic monthly payment, which PayPal account will you use if you have a number of them? Having just one account eliminates this problem altogether.
Another thing to consider is that PayPal assigns different commission rates based on the volume of transactions per month that an account generates. Thus if you have everything going into one account there might be a better chance for you to get the lowest rate than if you separate the accounts and hence lower the volume of each account.
Hopefully, this is helpful to you when deciding whether to open separate PayPal accounts for each product you own or not. Please leave a comment if you have any further questions and I’ll do my best to answer them.
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Andrea Juliao says
If you have multiple PayPal accounts, you already know the horrors come with tracking each separately. My tool Putler (www.putler.com) is specially built for resolving this problem.
You can connect all your multiple PayPal accounts to Putler and you can then either view a consolidated view of all your PayPal accounts or create separate views for each PayPal account and then toggle between them to view independent reports. The solution here is, you reduce time, effort to track them all individually. Simply open Putler and track all your PayPal accounts from one place.
Fun fact: There is no limit as to the number of PayPal accounts Putler can handle. So do give it a shot.
Putler also works for multiple other payment gateways, multiple stores and a lot more. Reach out if you have any further questions.
Also Jean, excellent article. You’ve answered so many key questions around having multiple PayPal accounts.
Just tried to add a second PayPal account for my second business and PayPal says that is not allowed.
I’m curious. when setting up a paypal business acc would you use the shops name or your personal name?
Very useful thanks.
As a business owner, with several businesses on a same account :
In the PAYPAL interface, you only have access to the overall turnover. It is not possible to differentiate your different businesses with a filter in the list of transactions for example.
The only solution is to export and apply a rule on Excel which differentiates to which email each transaction was sent. Because the only difference between the 2 businesses on my side is the email that is associated with each transaction, to my knowledge there is no other way to technically differentiate them.
As a business owner, with several businesses, I would like to weigh in on this.
For all but the occasional seller, you SHOULD ABSOLUTELY have separate PayPal accounts for your businesses! Let me explain why. Once you get into selling a lot across multiple websites and in different ventures, you are going to start encountering things like chargebacks. It is inevitable. When this happens during the normal course of business, you may find money deducted from your PayPal account. You may also find PayPal freezing your account if it happens frequently. While a freeze may not be significant if you are an occasional seller, a freeze can be VERY detrimental if you have multiple businesses tied to the one PayPal account! Also, as an added dimension, PayPal support is NOT always easy to reach! So now you have a frozen PayPal account into which all of your business money is frozen and you can’t do business! Bad! Bad! Bad! If you have multiple accounts and one is frozen, you can easily switch to use one of the others while the issues are resolved. This is a cover-your-butt move and it is ESSENTIAL! I encourage people to get multiple bank accounts for the same reason. Redundant systems protect you AND YOUR MONEY from issues! More and more vendors are going to move away from having PayPal as their payment processor over time. EBay has moved to managed payments and away from PayPal. The reason is that customers were having a hard time dealing with PayPal when buyers would open a claim on eBay and then turn around and open a claim through their credit card company/PayPal. Doing so would remove eBay seller protections for sellers and buyer protections for buyers and end up causing a lot of hassle. In some cases, customers were even able to double dip and get a refund on eBay and one through PayPal, leaving the seller in the negative at PayPal. PayPal doesn’t provide good notifications to sellers when they have cases that need to be resolved if you use just the mobile app, which a lot of us do. That only added to the problem. Other sellers have done the same and more are going to do the same. In the meantime, it is important to have more than one means to get your money and that means having multiple accounts for your businesses and protecting yourself even if you only have one business.
Steve Cole says
This is helpful, but I think you omitted the most important question we all have.
Does PayPal allow having 2 business PayPal accounts for two different “brands” (aka “DBAs”) that are both owned by the same legal entity (eg LLC) ? Or does PayPal require a unique legal entity (eg (LLC) for each business PayPal account?
Jean Galea says
PayPal does allow 2 or more business PayPal accounts for different brands under the same legal entity.
Steve Cole says
1. Could you direct us to where PayPal has stated they do allow 2 or more business PayPal accounts for different brands under the same legal entity? This is what I was hoping to hear but can’t seem to find them saying its okay anywhere…
2. Does each “brand” (DBA) under the same legal entity need to have a separate/unique bank account in for each brand to have its own business Paypal account?
Jean Galea says
I don’t know that they have it stated explicitly anywhere, but I had checked about it with PayPal support and have also set it up myself in the past, so it works for sure. I had different bank accounts linked to each of the PayPal accounts, but I’m not sure if that is a requirement.
How would you set up multiple DBAs under the same legal entity on PayPal? PayPal would only allow one account for the legal entity as each of the DBAs would share the same EIN essentially, and PayPal would flag you trying to open multiple accounts with that info.
Steve Cole says
The question GradCashGrab asked about FEIN clarifies a bit what I was getting at in my original question, “Does PayPal allow having 2 business PayPal accounts for two different “brands” (aka “DBAs”) that are both owned by the same legal entity (eg LLC)”…
…I should have been more clear with respect to FEIN.
When I say “same legal entity”, I also mean that both DBAs (brands) use the same FEIN. 1 legal entity, 1 FEIN.
So are you saying that you can have 2 business PayPal accounts that both use the same FEIN? Are you sure about that?
Looking forward to your response! I’ve been really confused about this for the last several months…spoke to Paypal multiple times and still did not get full clarity… = /
ahmad batyeh says
hello , thanks for the info , however, i do have some questions i didnt understand ..
i have an online and i get paid to my paypal business account , which is linked to my business email , which is linked to my card.
not i want to open a new online store , how can i make this right , i want to separate payments from each store ,
can i link my new store to my old paypal ?
or should i make a new paypal account for my new store , and link it with the same card?
I stumbled this conversation thread as I was searching for solutions for my business as you all encountered in yours.
This is the best alternative I have found so far. I took me some time to explain it to the paypal reps. They were friendly in listening to my problems, however since the functionality was not accessible at the time, their responses were limited.
As I read the thread, in November 2020, Kay voiced the important point of having multiple independent accounts. It sounds redundant and complicated to keep track, but welcome to the reality of owning a business. If it were easy everyone would do it right? Only those that can absorb truncated circumstances create a easier path for the consumer to find their products succeed in this the entrepeneurial sector.
Here were my findings.
Paypal does allow you to have multiple brands (accounts) under one FEIN or corporation or business as you want to classify it.
After much conversation I got the missing link that is not openly spoken. You should create individual accounts each needed account connected to an individual email account. Make sure you use the EIN and business information of the ONE business paypal call it PARENT.
As you guessed, the various brands (separate accounts) you created, paypal classifies then children.
You don’t get to create the relationship, paypal does. All you have to do is contact the rep, get his email for proper sending of information. In the email you will detail the parent account with the parent email account.
on separate line (to minimize confusion) you will list the account number and related email for that single brand.
Do this for all your brands at once in a single email. The rep will respond it back to you fairly quickly (within 4 hours) with the now linked accounts under the ONE Parent company you had.
This is the best alternative I found for my business, it is legal, paypal accepts, money flows in, and I don’t need to incorporate each single brand.
The only draw back is that it will use a single bank account, that is, the funds will be deposited into the PARENT account.
The pro is, you can trace each transaction separately as you follow the email that brand was related to.
Hope it helps.
I agree with Miller. They can link your sub-business with a master account. However, when you call the customer service, they most likely don’t know and answers it by rejecting your request since they think that there will be no way to use same bank account and FEIN under two separate PayPal business account. What you need is, you need to ask them to connect you either a CRE (Customer Relations Experts) department personnel or BRE (Business Relations Experts) department personnel. They are the people who can assist you. There are still some in those departments saying that it is not possible but if you find the right, knowledgeble one, you will solve the problem.
Hope this helps.
Is it gonna be a problem when I’m logging into several PayPal accounts from the same device? Or is there a workaround for this?
Thanks for the info, this was really useful
I want to thank you so much for posting this article, I know this article is a little old but I couldn’t find a concrete answer to whether or not I can open up more than one PayPal if I have different business entities. This blog was concise and to the point. I’m so grateful for this post now I can conduct my business the way that I need to. Have a wonderful day!
I’m thinking of having work done on my website
The business has no PayPal of their own.
I donot want a personal PayPal account. I always use a businesses account with my credit card
Is this particular business trustworthy?
Pushpendra Singh says
Great…!! that’s great advice good work, I read and also saw your every post, nice artical very usefull your post Thank you so much for sharing this and the information provide.
I came across your blog while searching for answers as regards paypal business account.
I have the same problem/concern as Leodelto Titos (posted last June 16, 2017 at 6:56 pm). I don’t see any replies to his question, however. May I ask for some advice or how this can be resolved?
Thanks so much. Hope to hear back.
Leodelto Titos says
I’m trying to start several businesses online and I’m facing a little difficulty on the Payments matter. I want to create multiple PayPal accounts for multiple online stores websites.
I’m a bit of a Paypal newbie here so I apologize if this is a simple or obvious question, but I can’t find any solution for this and I searched for weeks now.
I know I can add multiple emails accounts to one Paypal business account but I don’t know if for business purpose is the right way to do it or not. Because even if I separate each business with the appropriate email account after the purchase, PayPal only allows you to send the customer back to one website and in the credit card statements will be shown only the main account Name.
Having customers pause and wonder whether the transaction was credit card fraud whilst going over their statement just doesn’t sit well with me. I know that’s what they’ll think, because when I look through my own statement, I’m always looking for unexpected/inexplicable purchases, and it irritates me that some merchants I buy from show up on a statement as something else completely.
I’m just testing the waters so I don’t think that registering each one of the businesses as an LLC is a right thing to do at this stage.
How can I have multiple online stores websites using Paypal?
I’m really stuck.
ahmad batyeh says
hello , i have the exact same issue. have you found a solution yet??