When I first signed up for a PayPal personal account, I couldn’t receive payments from credit cards (no problem) and it was free to receive payments funded from someone’s bank account. Presumably, PayPal made their money because I was also using their service to buy things online from companies with business accounts (like my wine club), which pay a fee on every payment received regardless of whether the transaction is funded by debit or credit.
A friend recently tried to send me some money via PayPal, and I had the option to accept it — with a 4.9% + $0.55 transaction fee! Turns out that she was funding the transaction with a credit card, and of course someone has to pay the merchant fees on any credit card transaction. According to the fees page, which I found after much searching, PayPal Balance, PayPal Instant Transfer and PayPal eCheck are all free to accept in a personal account; after some investigation, it looks like Instant Transfer is the default method of having the payment come out of your bank account, although I have no idea what the difference is between that and a debit transaction (which does incur the 4.9% fee). That means, I assume, that if she had funded it out of her bank account, there would have been no transaction fee, although it’s all guesswork at this point.
Needless to say, I refused the payment, and she’s now sent me an Interac email money transfer.