It can be difficult to make major changes to your name on a Personal or Premier PayPal account.
It may be easier with a PayPal Business account, but this still depends on the type of business account you have.
We’ll show you how to change the name on both types of accounts. But we’ll also explain what problems you could face.
Valid Reasons For Changing The Name On Your PayPal Account
You may think there are all kinds of good reasons for changing the user name on your Personal account.
Many people would like to preserve their privacy and not have their real names disclosed when buying or selling.
However, this isn’t a good enough reason for PayPal. We’ll explain why in a later section.
They will accept a small number of reasons in order to change the name on your account. These are the three reasons:
- Your legal name is changing due to marriage or divorce
- You used a nickname or shorter version of your name and you now wish to use your full name
- You made a small mistake when creating your account and you need to change one or two letters
You will be asked to provide documentation for the first two reasons.
Marriage or divorce
If you are changing your name due to marriage, you can upload a copy of your marriage certificate to show your new legal name.
Divorce can be a little more complex. You may need to upload several different documents. I’d advise you to contact Customer Support and let them advise you.
Changing from a nickname
My legal name is John Summers, but people call me “Jonno”.
Suppose that I created the account using “Jonno” Summers. I may find I have transaction issues because the name doesn’t match what’s on my bank account.
If the name is an obvious nickname, this is likely to be a smooth process. You will be asked to upload a document showing the legal name, but PayPal is unlikely to block the process.
Minor mistakes in the name
Suppose I had mistyped my name as “Jon Summer” or “John Sumer”.
There’s just a difference of one character in these versions. If you’re dealing with a Customer Support agent, it’s easy to explain the mistake.
Potential Problems From Changing Your Name On PayPal
If you have a Personal or Premier account, you should be very wary about changing your name if it doesn’t meet one of the three criteria I described in the previous section.
The problem is that you are going against PayPal’s terms and conditions if you don’t use your legal name.
As I explain in the last section of this article, this isn’t just because they are being awkward. They are governed by national and state laws on financial transactions.
So, what’s the potential problem for you?
Potential suspension of your account
If PayPal decides that they need to investigate your account, they may suspend it. This means that you will not be able to use the account or to withdraw your funds.
People have reported having their accounts suspended with many thousands of dollars in their balance. It has taken them up to a year to access their funds.
Many of us couldn’t afford to lose access to hard-earned sums in our PayPal accounts.
Precautions you should take
If you decide to proceed with trying to change your name, we suggest that you withdraw all funds from your account.
If you have significant pending transactions, we suggest that you wait for them to clear!
How To Change Your Name On A Personal Account On PayPal
Now we’ve reviewed the potential problem, let’s show you how to start the process of changing your name.
- Click on the settings cog at the top right of the Paypal home page.
The cog opens the first settings tab which shows your account profile.
- Click the “Change name” link beneath your user name.
The link opens an input box to enter a first and last name.
- Enter the first name and last name that you wish to replace your current user name.
When you click the link to continue, you will be taken to the next page.
- Choose the reason that you are making the change.
- Upload one or more documents to support your name request
You should have prepared these documents in advance.
The preferred documents are a passport or valid driving license that has not expired.
However, other documents such as letters from utilities may be enough. This is more likely if you are making a very minor correction to a misspelling.
Alternative Solution To Changing Your PayPal Name
I’ve discussed the potential issue of having your account suspended and your funds held until you sort out the problem with PayPal.
Let’s say that you have some, but not all, of the documentation that PayPal wants to process the change of name.
In this case, your better option may simply be to open a new PayPal account in your preferred name.
Suppose I had opened an account in the name of “John W. Summer”. But the initial was causing issues and I wanted to drop it.
I might simply close the “John W. Summer” account, and open a new account in my preferred name. Then I’d close the other account. This seems to save a lot of hassle!
Why Is It Difficult To Change My PayPal Name?
As we have seen, if you are using a Personal or Premier account then it is difficult to change the name you registered with.
This is because they are governed by the same laws as banks in the United States and other countries.
In recent years, state and national laws have targeted the use of false or untraceable names for fraud, money laundering, and other nefarious purposes.
Under these laws, PayPal must ensure that they have verified the identities of customers using their services for financial transactions.
However, they also understand that there are circumstances in which people change their names. The most common are with women who take their husband’s name in marriage.
How To Change The Name On A PayPal Business Account
When people are interested in changing their name, they most likely want to change how it is displayed to other people.
Depending on how you set up your Business account, you will have the option of setting a business name that is separate from your account name.
To have this option, you must have set your business type to one of these:
- Limited company
If you have set your account as a sole trader, then you won’t be able to set a separate business name.
If you are a sole trader, then you face all the issues as I’ve reviewed for Personal accounts.