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PayPal hit by glitches in online payments

The eBay unit says the problem appears to be related to a coding update.

PayPal, eBay's online payment service, has suffered intermittent glitches since late last week, locking some users out of their accounts for long stretches and making it difficult for some online sellers to complete deals, the company and users said on Monday.

The online payment problem came at the start of eBay's seasonally biggest quarter for revenue and roughly four months after the company apologized for a run of billing and search snafus that disrupted some of the auction site's most dedicated sellers.

EBay said it was working to fix the recent PayPal problems, which have affected payments, log-ins and account creation.

"We are working furiously...We have all resources dedicated to getting it fixed as soon as possible," said PayPal spokeswoman Amanda Pires.

Pires said the problem appeared to be related to a coding update late Thursday. "We haven't found the ultimate cause," she added.

It was not immediately clear how widespread the problems were, although eBay's message boards were filled with postings about the glitches.

Michael Bokan, of West Charlton, N.Y., said PayPal usually processes five to 10 payments a day on orders from his fly-fishing equipment Web site FlyShack.com.

Bokan, who said he can see payment requests being sent to PayPal, said no payments came through on Friday, less than half than normal were processed over the weekend, and just one was done on Monday.

"It's messing things up," said one San Francisco-based PayPal user who spoke on condition he not be named. He said payments were "trickling in" to his account, although confirmation e-mails from PayPal were not.

Users also complained they were unable to withdraw money from their PayPal accounts or to use their PayPal debit cards. "I can't get paid, can't ship and can't get to my own money," a PayPal user wrote in a posting on eBay's message boards.

EBay has been integrating PayPal tightly into its site since it purchased the company in 2002. For example, the company added a feature to its popular "Buy It Now" function that allows sellers to accept immediate payment only through PayPal.

PayPal boasted 50.4 million accounts at the end of the second quarter, during which it processed $4.4 billion in payments.

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