Billing

Started ‎02-24-2011 by
Modified ‎05-30-2013 by

Billing

 

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Overview

Why provide billing information?

Although a basic account gives you full access to Second Life and does not require a credit card or PayPal account, if you add a credit card or a verified PayPal account you can:

Second Life billing policies

Read the full Second Life Billing Policies, also linked to from the Terms of Service.

Linden Lab® will bill your account only under very specific circumstances. All charges are deducted from your U.S. Dollars (USD) balance first, and then from your credit card or PayPal account if your USD balance is insufficient. When initiating a transaction, you may choose to bypass your USD balance and send the full charge to your payment method by clicking "DO NOT USE".

Premium membership

Premium account holders are charged according to the payment plan they have selected. Depending on the plan, charges may occur monthly, quarterly, or yearly. See your Account Summary to find out your current billing rate. To change your billing rate, see the Upgrade/Downgrade Membership page.

Land use fees'

The land use fee (also known as tier) is a variable monthly charge that increases with the amount of land you own in Second Life. For more information about land use fees, see the Land Pricing & Use Fees page. Land use fees are separate from private region fees.

Private region fees

In addition to the initial charge to buy a private region, owners of private regions pay a monthly fee to Linden Lab. Private region fees are charged directly to your credit card or PayPal account, and are separate from other land use fees.

See Buying private Regions for a comparison of private region fees.

Note: Private Region fees exclude VAT.

Visit the Land Portal for more information about land types and pricing, including access to the Land Store and Auction site.

There are fees for certain region changes, such as renaming, moving, or converting to a different region type; see Managing Private Regions for details.

Auctions

Some land auctions are denominated in U.S. Dollars. Winning an auction incurs a one-time payment, but can cause an increase in your monthly Land Use Fees if the additional land moves you to the next Land Tier. For more information about land auctions in Second Life, see the Auction FAQ.

Region rental

It is possible to rent an entire Region for a short period of time. The cost of renting a Region is L$4000 per day, paid in full on the first day of the rental. Note that this price is listed in Linden dollars (L$) instead of U.S. dollars. For more information on Region rental, visit the Land Portal.

Linden dollar exchange

All Residents have the option of trading U.S. Dollars for Linden Dollars (L$) on the Linden Dollar Exchange (LindeX). LindeX charges are generated on a per-transaction basis; you will only be charged if and when you decide to make an exchange. You may also purchase Linden Dollars inworld by clicking the Buy L$ button next to your inworld Linden Dollar balance. For additional information on LindeX transaction fees, see the LindeX: Fees page.

Some credit card issuers charge a small fee if the payment settles in a currency that is not native to the card. If you're in the United States and are being charged a foreign transaction fee with your current credit card, try deleting and re-entering your payment method. This should resolve your foreign transaction fees; if it does not, consult your financial institution for details on their schedule of fees.

Warning: If you find any suspicious or unexpected charges on your credit card or PayPal statement that appear to be from Linden Lab, gather all available information and open a billing support case for investigation.

How to view or change your billing information

To view your billing information, see the Billing Information page on the Second Life website.

Note: For security reasons, you can only view the type of card affiliated with your account and the last four digits of the card number. You cannot view the full number. 

On the Billing Information page, you can view your current Linden dollar (L$) and US dollar balances, view and add US dollar payment methods for your account, and set which payment methods will be used for different types of purchases.

Adding a new payment method

To add a credit card or PayPal account to your Second Life account, click Add Credit Card or Add PayPal. Follow the on-screen instructions to set up a billing agreement with PayPal or fill in your credit card information accordingly.

Once you have added a payment method, it is saved for your account and you can associate it with various types of payments.  See the next section for more information.

You can also add a new payment method during a transaction, when selecting a payment method.  If you add a credit card or PayPal account in this way, it is automatically associated with the type of payment being made.

Associating payment methods with payment types

You may specify which payment method you would like to use for each of the following payment types:

  • Buying L$ in the Viewer
  • Buying L$ on the web
  • Buying land, Premium fees, recurring fees

To associate a payment method, go to the Set Payment Methods section of the Billing Information page and click the + button next to the type of payment you would like to specify, then choose a saved payment method from the provided list.

If a payment method is already associated with the selected payment type, you can change the payment method by clicking the pencil icon next to the payment type.

You can also change an associated payment method during a transaction by choosing a different payment method or adding a new payment method for that transaction.

Changing stored payment information

To change stored information about one of your payment methods, you must delete that payment method and re-enter it.  You may delete a stored payment method by clicking the X next to that payment method on the Billing Information page.

VAT and changing your billing country

Your selected country determines the payment methods available to you.  Normally, you should not need to change your billing country, but you may need to update it if you are travelling or have moved to a new location.  You can change your billing country by clicking the Change button next to your country's name on the Billing Information page.

If your billing country is a member of the European Union, you may be subject to the collection of value added tax (VAT).  If you are a business and are reselling, or adding value to Second Life before providing it to a consumer, you are eligible to provide your EU-issued VAT ID number in order to be excluded from the collection of VAT.  If you see "Subject to VAT" under your billing country's name on the Billing Information page, you can add your exception by clicking Add VAT Exception and providing your ID.

For more information, see VAT frequently asked questions

Accepted currencies and payment methods

You may use the following payment methods with Second Life:

  • Visa
  • American Express
  • MasterCard
  • Delta Online
  • JCB
  • Discover (U.S. Residents only)
  • Visa Electron (non-U.S. Residents only)
  • PayPal

The currencies accepted for payment vary depending upon the payment type you use.  

Note: If you have had a payment method on file since before December 7, 2011, you may need to remove and re-add that payment method before making payments in non-USD currencies.

Visa, MasterCard, and Visa Electron

You may pay in:

  • AED, AUD, CAD, CHF, CNY, CZK, DKK, EUR, GBP, HKD, HUF, JPY, KRW, MXN, MYR, NOK, NZD, PLN, RUB, SAR, SEK, SGD, THB, TRY, USD, ZAR

American Express

You may pay in 

  • AED, AUD, CHF, CNY, CZK, DKK, EUR, GBP, HKD, HRK, HUF, KRW, MYR, NOK, NZD, PLN, RUB, SAR, SEK, SGD, THB, TRY, USD

JCB

You may pay in:

  • AUD, CNY, EUR, GBP, HKD, JPY, KRW, MYR, SGD, THB, USD

Discover

You must use US dollars (USD) when paying with Discover.

PayPal

For a complete list of currencies accepted by PayPal, visit their official website and view the page on multiple currencies. To use your PayPal balance when making transactions with Second Life, it must be in USD. You can convert your balance to USD at paypal.com (PayPal may impose exchange fees).

Understanding Transaction History

You can view your transaction history in two places from your account page on the Second Life website:

Account > Transaction History

Displays your Linden Dollar (L$) transactions for the selected date range (up to 30 days). You can also download the data in XLS (Excel) and XML format.

Linden Exchange > Manage > Transaction History

Displays:
  • Your Linden dollar and US dollar account balances.
  • Your remaining Lindex™ trading limits for the next 24 hours and 30 days.
  • Your remaining account billing limits for the next 24 hours and 30 days.
  • Your LindeX™ Exchange Transaction History, including both closed and open (unexecuted limit buy or sell) orders.

Understanding Account History

Choose Account > Account History from the sidebar on your Second Life account page to access your account history. This page shows all your account transactions for the previous 45 days that involve real-world currency.

LindeX

For purchases of Linden dollars on the LindeX, you will see two entries: one corresponding to the L$ buy, and one corresponding to the transaction payment. So, for example, this is correct:

TimeConfirmation IDNoteAmountEnding Balance
08/17/2010 08:41:22 102230685019 Customer Payment ($7.75) $23.23
08/17/2010 08:41:22 - LindeX Currency Buy $7.75 $30.94

Because of timing issues these may appear in the opposite order. So, for example, this is also correct:

TimeConfirmation IDNoteAmountEnding Balance
08/17/2010 08:41:22 - LindeX Currency Buy $7.75 $30.94
08/17/2010 08:41:22 102230685019 Customer Payment ($7.75) $23.23

 

Land fees

When you purchase land, pay land maintenance fees, or premium membership fees, you will see three entries:

  • One entry for the payment
  • One entry for the purchase
  • One entry for the VAT charge (if applicable).
TimeConfirmation IDNoteAmountEnding Balance
09/09/2010 09:42:18 - My New Land (Estate: My New Land) $1,029.00 $0.00
09/09/2010 09:42:18 - VAT charge for United Kingdom at 17.50% $180.07 ($1,029.00)
09/09/2010 09:42:18 102234890171 Payment of 814.49 GBP, Visa ending with 1038 ($1,209.07) ($1,209.07)

Again, the entries can appear in any order, so the far right column can look different in each case.

Billing for land holdings

Private Regions

As with all US$ transactions, Private Region (island) setup fees first bill against any US$ credit in your account and then against the payment method you have associated with buying land.

If you are using PayPal, you may need to adjust your monthly billing allowance. See the next section for instructions.

If you use a credit card, you may need to notify your credit card provider of the upcoming purchase. You can also pay for Private Regions by wire transfer. See Account balance for details.

Mainland holdings

On the mainland, billing is based on peak usage for the prior 30 days.

As stated on the Land Use Fees page:

The Land Use Fee is a monthly charge for the peak amount of land held during the previous 30 days, including actual parcels held and land tier donated to groups.

Once the peak usage has been billed, your peak usage is reset to the current amount of land you own or have donated to a group. All land owned or donated during the prior 30 days is counted regardless of the amount of time for which it was held.

Account fees, which are separate from mainland billing, are based on the user's signup date and are paid in advance.

Preventing common billing problems

Below are some common causes of billing problems and steps to prevent them. 

General

Make sure that you have payment information on file when attempting to make a purchase. Transactions with Linden Lab require you to specify a form of payment to charge when you make purchases or payments.

Credit cards

Here are some common reasons for credit card failure:

  • You entered the credit card number incorrectly.
  • You did not enter the billing address or entered it incorrectly. It should be the same address that appears on your bill.
  • You did not enter the name on the card or entered differently from how it appears on the card.
  • Billing Information page.
  • The credit card is not in the list of accepted payment methods (see above)
  • You did not enter the CVV (3 digits on the back, or 4 digits on the front for AmEx) or entered it incorrectly.
  • The card is expired, or the expiration date was entered incorrectly.
  • There are no funds available on the credit card to validate it. We send a US$1.00 authorization to ensure that a credit card is valid. This is not a billing, but the card must have at least US$1.00 available on it to pass validation.
  • Your monthly payment limit is reached, and/or your bank is not authorizing any more transactions.
  • The issuing bank has not pre-approved transactions with Linden Research, Inc. Contact the issuing bank to resolve the problem.
  • If you are outside the US, your card may not be set up for international/overseas transactions (this is very common with Visa Electron).

If none of the above applies, contact your credit card provider to determine the cause.

You may also contact Linden Lab Billing Support.

PayPal

Often the initial agreement can't be set up due to an unverified PayPal account. To use your PayPal account with Linden Lab, it must be verified and be capable of making instant transfers.

Linden Lab does not accept e-check (bank account) payments through PayPal because they cannot be processed quickly enough to match the instant delivery of virtual goods and services.  Therefore, we require that you have a credit card on file with PayPal as a backup payment source, OR that you pay with your PayPal balance in USD. Without a sufficient USD balance in your PayPal account, you will not be able to use it with only a bank account.

Be aware of your monthly limits. By default, your monthly spending limit with PayPal is set to US$250.00. You can easily raise or lower that limit. See Using PayPal for more information.

Using PayPal

 How to set up payment with PayPal

Follow these steps:

  1. Log in to your PayPal account.
  2. Click the My Account tab.
  3. Click the Profile subtab.
  4. Go to the My Money section.
  5. In the My preapproved payments section, click Update.
  6. If you have any existing billing agreements with Linden Research, select and cancel them.
  7. Go back to the Profile subtab again.
  8. Under the My personal info section, update your information where needed (your PayPal agreement may silently fail if your Second Life account lacks a billing address and email).

Then create the PayPal agreement with Linden Lab.

You must have funds available in your Preferred funding source (PayPal balance) for any purchase to go through. If you do not have enough funds in your Preferred source, the remaining balance will be drawn from your Backup funding source (bank account or credit card).

Note: Regarding PayPal passwords and security: The page where you log into PayPal is a PayPal page. We do not receive this information; PayPal does.

 Set your PayPal monthly limit

If PayPal is failing, the cause may be the default monthly maximum limit of US$250.00 set by PayPal.  To change it:

  1. Log into PayPal.
  2. Click the My Account tab.
  3. Click the Profile subtab.
  4. Go to the My Money section.
  5. In the My preapproved payments section, click Update.
  6. Click Linden Research from the Merchant list.
  7. In the Bill Term section, click Edit Billing Limit.
  8. Enter the total maximum dollar value you want to set.
  9. Click Save.

Contacting Linden Lab billing support

If you have a non-technical issue related to billing concerns, you can call the Linden Lab billing team at the following toll-free numbers:

  • US/Canada: 800-294-1067
  • France: 0805-101-490
  • Germany: 0800-664-5510
  • Japan: 0066-33-132-830
  • Portugal: 800-814-450
  • Spain: 800-300-560
  • UK: 0800-048-4646
  • Brazil: 0800-762-1132

Long distance (not free): 703-286-6277

Billing Support is available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week in the US, UK, and Canada and 7 days a week in all other countries listed above.

Common issues and frequently asked questions

I can't update my payment information

If your payment methods are not updating properly, it often has something to do with the bank or card issuer.  Some credit card companies will automatically decline or hold for review international charges (or "online gaming" charges) as a safeguard against fraud.

If you are located in the U.S., delete and re-enter your payment method. This will make it go through the domestic processor, which reduces the chances of your financial institution putting a hold on the transaction.

 

Important: Credit and debit cards require up to 30 minutes to update in our system. Even if you receive the message “your payment information has been successfully updated,” you must still wait up to 30 minutes before attempting purchases.

If you're having trouble getting a payment method to update:

  1. If you have waited at least 30 minutes and have attempted several transactions that failed or information is still pending update, delete and re-enter your billing information or try an alternate method of payment (credit or debit card).  To do this:
    1. Go to Your Dashboard.
    2. Click Account.
    3. Click Billing Information.
    4. Update your billing information then click Submit.
      If the update is sucessful, you will see the message "Your information has been successfully updated".
    5. Wait 30 minutes to get approval from your payment processor.
  2. After the second attempt, if transactions are still failing or information is still pending update, contact your credit or debit card issuer:
    1. Ask to speak directly to the risk and security department.
    2. Explain that you wish to authorize your card for charges from Linden Research and Second Life.
    3. While on the phone, clear and re-enter your billing information. The bank or card issuer should then see (and approve) a $1 verification charge; which will be refunded.
  3. If you are still unable to complete a transaction after following the above steps, contact Linden Lab billing support as explained above.

I'm having trouble paying—what's going to happen?

If we are not able to bill your account for the balance due, we put your account on hold for 30 days. During that period, you can go to your account page and update your credit card information and manually push the charge through to immediately reactivate your account. If you owe a balance for more than 30 continuous days, your account will be placed in delinquency status: you can still access secondlife.com to clear the balance, but you will not be able to access your inworld accounts while delinquent.

For more information, see Delinquency policy.

At any time, you can convert your account status to basic membership to keep it available to you at no charge. Please note that if you owned land, those charges are billed in arrears, so there may be one more payment due before fees cease to be incurred. You must clear all charges for land owned and land tier donations to avoid additional fees.

I paid US$ for something, but it's not showing up yet

There are a few things related to Second Life that you need to pay for using US$. These things include:

When you've bought these items, you should be able to use them more or less instantly.

When something like your land fees are due, the charge is applied to your account. It may show as a negative balance until the next day, because the system hasn't processed it yet. In most cases, the charge is applied overnight in the form of payment on file.

If you're having problems that seem to indicate the system doesn't realize that you've paid for something, you should file a support ticket.

I get a "Not Authorized" message when entering billing information

The institution issuing the card you're trying to use has rejected the attempt to set up a payment agreement. You should contact the card's issuer to resolve this problem.

Why was I charged $1.00 on my credit card?

This is not an actual charge, but an authorization that we request from your credit card company.

Once the authorization is received, which confirms the account is valid, we then rescind the authorization.

At no time is the US$1.00 actually charged, though the authorization may appear on a credit card statement as such. The amount may show as "pending" or "authorized" for a few days, but then will drop off the account entirely.

Issues with American Express

If you're an American Express customer, be happy: American Express is pretty vigilant about guarding your money.

If you're planning to purchase land or L$ through Linden Lab with an American Express card, you should first call American Express and authorize an open billing agreement with Linden Lab. Once American Express has enabled it, you should be able to use your American Express card to buy land or L$.

Why was I billed an additional transaction fee?

When payments are settled in a currency not native to your payment method, your bank may charge what is commonly called a "foreign transaction fee." This fee is not generated or collected by Linden Lab, and we can't control or cancel it.

If you're in the United States and are being charged the foreign transaction fee on your current credit card, you should try deleting and re-entering your current payment method at https://secondlife.com/account/billing.php. This process should stop the foreign transaction fees in most cases; if they continue, you should contact your financial institution to learn the details of your personal situation.

Issues with prepaid and gift cards

A common cause of payment method failure is the use of unsupported card types. At this time, the majority of prepaid cards are not compatible with our system, even if they bear the VISA/AMEX/Mastercard logo. This includes cards purchased at retail stores, rechargeable credit cards, and bank-issued check cards.

I receive the error message "This transaction cannot be completed with your chosen payment method, please purcase L$ and reattempt your purchase." when I try to make a puchase using my Credit Card or PayPal account

If you receive an error message when attempting to use your credit card or PayPal to make a Marketplace purchase, please attempt to make the purchase using Linden dollars (L$) as the payment method.

To purchase additional Linden dollars to complete your purchase:

  1. On the upper-right of the page, click Buy L$.
  2. In the Linden Dollars (L$) box, enter the amount of Linden Dollars necessary to complete your purchase.
  3. Click Place Order.
  4. Return to the Marketplace and check out using Linden dollars as your method of payment.
Comments
by Senior Helper ‎04-17-2011 01:01 AM - edited ‎04-17-2011 01:02 AM

Maybe the link of "Contacting Linden Lab Billing" is broken: http://d3.parature.com/ics/support/default.asp?deptID=4417&task=knowledge&questionID=6500

by Community Manager on ‎04-17-2011 08:31 PM

Thanks for pointing this out, Irene! I've fixed that broken link (the correct link is https://support.secondlife.com/billing-support/).

by Member Cybin Monde on ‎05-16-2011 02:39 PM

Would it be possible to have the "view billing information" specify that you can't actually view some of the information? For instance, if i want to check if i'm using the right credit card before the next time i get charged, it's not possible. All i can see is what type of card, no information about the account number. In order to make sure, the only choice is to delete the information first and enter the one i knew was up to date.

I know i made a Jira once for it, but i thought it should be mentioned here since the statement above made me think it showed more information now.

But a lot of great information here otherwise!

*waves*

 

Until after now...

by Linden on ‎06-10-2011 01:02 PM

Thanks Cybin -- I incorporated your comment into a note under the first heading. I hope this does the trick!

by Senior Helper on ‎06-10-2011 01:18 PM

Great suggestion Cybin.

by Member Cybin Monde on ‎07-06-2011 09:18 PM

Well, i'm a little late in replying to the two previous comments, but i wanted to say thanks for noticing! :)

I think it helps a lot, but only on this page. Perhaps there should be a note somewhere in Account Summary or in the Update Card area? i've always wanted to be able to see at least the last 4 digits, just to make sure my most recent credit card is the one used. Would that create a security issue as well? Or is it possible that method could be employed as a comfortable middle road?

by Senior Helper on ‎02-24-2012 09:45 AM

1) See this paragraph:

  • US/Canada: 800-294-1067
  • France: 0805-101-490
  • Germany: 0800-664-5510
  • Japan: 0066-33-132-830
  • Portugal: 800-814-450
  • Spain: 800-300-560
  • UK: 0800-048-4646

2) And see and compare with the info in the Billing Support page

  • France: 0805.101.490
  • Germany: 0800.664.5510
  • Japan: 0066.33.132.830
  • Brazil: 0800.762.1132
  • Spain: 800.300.560
  • UK: 0800.048.4646

3) Portugal, Brazil?

by Member Indigo Mertel on ‎09-13-2014 10:52 AM

Please, note that the information you provide on this page for the PayPal default monthly maximum limit of US$250.00 is not always true. For Italian PayPal users there is only a limit of €8,000.00 per transaction. I don't know if this transaction policy is valid for all European users of PayPal. I had this information from PayPal support after I contacted them to troubleshoot issues I had with a payment transaction.

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