PayPal Security Key FAQ

Why should I use the PayPal Security Key?

There are 3 main reasons to use a security key:

  1. It’s one of the most secure ways to log in to your PayPal account. The security key randomly generates security codes that are practically impossible to duplicate.
  2. It’s easy to use. A fresh security code is just one button (or about 30 seconds) away.
  3. It’s portable. Take extra security anywhere you go.

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What exactly is a security key?

The security key gives you an extra layer of security when you log in to your PayPal account. It creates random security codes to use along with your regular username and password.

It’s like a combination lock for your account – designed to let you in and keep others out – except that the combination always changes. It comes in 2 types, each with different advantages:

  1. Security key: This is a small device, the size of a credit card that you carry with you. It creates a unique security code that you use to log in to your account.
  2. Mobile phone security key: You can get temporary security codes on your mobile phone by text messages (also called SMS).

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What's the difference between the token and card format of the security key?

They are the same except for two things. Obviously, they are different sizes. Plus, the card generates a new code anytime the button is pushed, while the token generates a new code automatically every 30 seconds.

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What do I need to use the mobile phone security key?

You’ll need a mobile phone and service that supports SMS text messaging. Contact your mobile provider to make sure your phone and services are set up for SMS, and to find out your provider’s standard text messaging charges.

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How do I use my security key?

  1. Log in to PayPal as you normally would. After you enter your username and password, you’ll be asked to enter a security code.
  2. Press the button on your security key to get a new code.
  3. Enter the code to finish logging in.

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How do I use the mobile security key?

  1. Log in to PayPal as you normally would. After you log in, you’ll see the Send SMS button on the next page.
  2. Click Send SMS and wait to get the text message with your code on your mobile phone.
  3. Enter the code to finish logging in.

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My text messages don’t always come through. Can I still log in without a code?

Yes. We’ll ask you some security verification questions that only you’ll know the answer to.

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Will it work with my computer?

Yes. The security key works with any computer operating system and web browser that can access the PayPal website.

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How much does it cost?

There's no fee to use your mobile phone as your Security Key but standard text messaging rates apply when you receive a secure code by SMS. Check with your mobile provider for details.

The credit-card size PayPal Security Key is currently available for $29.95.

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Is the fee refundable?

No, but you pay the fee only once per security key.

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Can I still log in to my PayPal account if I lose or break my key, or if I don’t have my mobile phone with me?

Yes. During login, we’ll ask you questions to help confirm your identity. When you answer them correctly, you’ll be able to log in.

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What if I lose my mobile phone or change the number?

Your security key service is tied to your mobile phone number, so if you’re keeping your old number but just getting a new phone, there’s no fee. If you’re getting a new number, you’ll have to register it for the mobile security key service. You’ll also have to log in to your PayPal account to deactivate your old mobile number and activate your new one.

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Can I order a replacement security key?

Yes. You can order a new security key for $5. If your security key has stopped working, please contact Customer Service.

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Where should I keep my security key?

We recommend that you keep it with you so you can access your account wherever you go.

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How do I deactivate my security key?

  1. Log in to your PayPal account with your security key.
  2. Click Profile at the top of the page.
  3. Click PayPal Security Key.
  4. Select the security key and click Deactivate.

Your PayPal account remains secure, even if you decide to deactivate your security key.

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