Change Your Social Security Number at PayPal

As I’m recording information for taxes this year, I realize that once again, I’ve managed to forget to update the account information at PayPal, and the 1099 form has my personal Social Security Number on it, rather than the company’s Employer ID Number, which means that I personally will be paying taxes on any interst in the account, rather than the company. To make matters worse, the company taxes are already filed, which means that they have accounted for interest income, so it’s like a double whammy. About the only good news is that it’s not a huge amount. But still.

I figure I need to take care of the problem. The only issue is that there is no easy way to do it. The interface at PayPal, while not difficult, doesn’t seem to have a way to figure out how to change this information. In fact, there’s no obvious place to change your Social Security Number/Employer ID Number anywhere that I can find. I do manage to find a couple of places where you can contact them directly – both a local area code and an 800 number – so I try both. No such luck. After spending at least half an hour on the phone with various reps, being transferred more than once and being disconnected twice, I was still stuck with the same problem: My 1099 for next year was going to have my personal information on it, not the company’s.

Though I personally prefer email for communication, I figured that this was going to best be handled via phone – at least initially. So I was trying to avoid using email at the outset. But I did have some other tasks to take care of, so I submitted an email to the customer service department at PayPal and figured I’d come back to it later. The later slipped into the next day, and I was in serious danger of running into the same issue all over again next year.

It seems that no one at PayPal is even aware that this might be an issue. Everyone I talked to just wanted to repeat the problem back to me. I’d tell them that I wanted to change the information, and they would say “You want to change your SSN to an EIN”. At length. Over and over and over again. It’s like some sort of strange interpersonal communication session, where they are making sure that they are saying the correct thing by repeating it back to you. Maybe it’s an English as a Second Language class and they are practicing saying things for homework. But still, it wasn’t solving the problem.

Eventually, the response did come in via email, and it was just about as unhelpful – there is no way to change your Social Security Number.

However, it did have a tidbit that provided the solution. Leon, helpful soul that he was, jogged the useful part of my brain by telling me that while I couldn’t change my Social Security Number, I could opt out of the Money Market Fund, and then sign up for it again using my Employer ID Number. While they can’t remove my Social Security Number from the account, because that’s assigned to an individual, this is all that I needed – after all, the only time I’m earning interest (dividends, technically) is on the Money Market Fund, and that is where the Social Security Number was coming from. Now I just had to figure out how to opt out of it.

I was naturally afraid that I’d close my entire account, but it turned out to not be a problem. Here’s how to do it.

When you are logged into your account, on the overview screen, you can see the rate you are earning – at this writing it looks like “Money Market: 3.28% – Learn More”. The “Learn More” is actually a link, and from that screen, there is a link where you can close your Money Market account. I was unable to find any other place to do it. Just click the link, confirm the desire to close it, and you’re done. Then, you need to sign up for it again. Click the “Add Funds” link, and when you do you will see an option where you can sign up for the Money Market Account. Click it, and select to use an Employer ID Number instead. That’s all you need to do.

It would be nice if the process was a little bit easier, but hey – I can live with it, as at least it’s done. I’ll have a couple months of interest next year to worry about, but at least I won’t have to deal with it after that. You can naturally do this if you just need to change your Social Security Number too.

7 Replies to “Change Your Social Security Number at PayPal”

  1. Hi Steve –

    Actually, I mention that they can’t remove your SSN. If you want to do that, about the only chance you’ll have is to close your account entirely (I don’t even know if that will help, however).

    But in this case, what I’m after is getting the 1099 to report the correct tax ID – and closing and reopening with the company EIN worked fine. So in that case, it is correct. If you’re having problems, you might want to make sure that’s what you tried.

  2. This is incorrect. They keep the social on file, even if you change it to an EIN. I tried this before, now they have both on file.

  3. Jeff –

    I am having the same problem closing the Money Market account. The site lets me close it unlimited times and never actually does anything. Were you able to get it closed?

  4. I am having some trouble closing my money market fund… After I learned that it isn’t FDIC insured (standard paypal balance is), I decided it would be best to opt out. Besides, the rate is down the a measly 0.56%.

    The problem is, when I follow the steps to close it, nothing happens. It stills says the money market fund is active, and I can even “close” it again if I try.

    Did it take some time for the process to complete for you?

  5. Tough to say exactly – because if you read between the lines, I didn’t really provide them with my SSN. I only gave it to them for the interest that I was earning. And I have a business account, so it may not apply anyway (that means that I have an EIN on it).

    Not trying to be difficult – just saying that I may not be the precise person to answer your question. But to do so, I’ve never had a problem with them. Their communications are encrypted – or appear to be at any rate. Just make sure you go directly there by typing their address into your browser, rather than clicking a link in some email, because there is plenty of spam that comes in claiming to be from PayPal, and it’s actually a phishing scam that will try and get your info from you.

  6. hey chad,

    i stumbled across this blog while looking for info about paypal and ss numbers.

    i wanted to ask you: did you ever have any trouble with giving paypal your ss number (aside from the whole ein fiasco)? i receive a lot of payments on paypal and now they’re asking for my ss number to “lift my limit.”

    i was just wondering if it giving it to them would be a huge hassle…

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