I'm not a huge fan of Paypal. Their policies and support (which have only got worse since they joined the eBay family) and invasive cross promotion (in both eBay, to the exclusion of other payment solutions, and Skype) haven't especially impressed me (though I've not suffered as badly as folks on PayPalSucks!)

I did however discover a new service of theirs that I actually like and I've used and found that it works really well.

I've got a bunch of money stuck in a PayPal account which while I could extract via cheque that's a pain (and they've limited me to $500 a month by bank transfer because apparently my SSN and address don't match what they have on file for me!) and I didn't want another debit/credit card to fill up my wallet. So the net result was I've got this month that I'm extracting $500 at a time and the rest is sitting there.

The new service - a virtual debit card that is funded by your available balance and generates a new card number every time you use it (and the expiry date is set to next month) - simple, safe and secure, and lets me use my money in a very convenient manner.

It adds a simple button to IE and Firefox toolbars that you can use to auto-fill a form with delivery and billing address, phone numbers and a one-shot credit card number. The little app shows you your current available balance and lets you update account settings easily.

The app also looks after users by performing phishing and blocked sites lookup. Hopefully Paypal won't decide they are the sole arbiter there (I can see abuse of power if they don't allow a user the final say - for instance paying for a rival VoIP or auction service!) but by providing a bit more warning that usual it may help people avoid getting ripped off (and might reduce the income stream to spammers a bit).

I'm still waiting for the day Microsoft declares Points to be a de facto currency that's accepted anywhere ;)

Oh, and my first use of the virtual debit card - it was for a good cause... membership of our local public TV station KBTC and the second was for our local community radio KEXP.