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Can someone help me understand the process one would have to go through to set up a website, like a job board, that allows users to deposit money into their account and then use it to buy/sell stuff? Is it possible to use Paypal as Escrow the same way Ebay does?

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Have you looked at the PayPal API's yet? cms.paypal.com/us/cgi-bin/…. They seem very clear. What specific questions do you have? –  S.Lott Jul 19 '11 at 2:22
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Hi! Welcome to Programmers.se. Your question seems well-intentioned, but it's also quite broad. Could you possibly refine your question so that people can help you with a specific part of your web design goal? –  Jim G. Feb 23 '12 at 1:13
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2 Answers

First, contact a lawyer. If you are going to hold customer funds you may be subject to banking regulations.

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+1 You will at a bare minimum be subject to money laundering regulations. These laws will depend on which country you are in. –  Qwerky Jul 19 '11 at 14:05
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If you are not working for a very large company with lots of resources, you will need to get a payment provider to handle most of the technical issues. Otherwise you don't want to hold any data on your server that is worth money, since your site will be under permanent attack.

Otherwise the API interfaces of most payment providers I worked with follow more or less the same principles (though actual implementation may vary in many details). When your customer needs to make a payment, you either querry the necessary information (less secure) or redirect him to a secure website of your payment provider (look and feel can be customized in most cases). After that the payment provider will redirect him again back to your website, the route depending on success of the payment. In addition you have ways to query details about the transaction, for example send a request to the payment server and get back some XML (or whatever) that tells you if it was successful or canceled. In most cases this can be implemented in a few days of work.

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