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What To Do if You’re Out of Time on Plaid

Five days from today, Etsy plans to stop paying me for any sales made on their platform.  I’ve reached out to support multiple times and been told that they can’t help me.

If I want to keep my Etsy shop, I’m required to connect my business bank account to a third party.  This third party – Plaid – has spent a fair amount of time in court getting sued for things like creating look-alike bank login pages to trick users into entering private information.  

I opened my Etsy shop in 2006, the same year I started my business and opened my business bank account.  If I connect, it’s possible I’ll be giving Plaid more than 18 years of private financial data.  If I agree to Plaid’s privacy policy, as required by Etsy, I’m also agreeing that Plaid can share my data with their “partners”.

I’d like to sell on Etsy.  I’d prefer not to have my data sold on Etsy.

For more than a decade I loved Etsy.  Now, I wish I could just throw in the towel on my shop. I’m drained, after 4 years of constant anti-creator platform changes and ever-increasing fees.

I’m more realistic than that.  Etsy has a monopoly on the concept of creative. The average person, when they want to buy something handmade, they go to look for it on Etsy.  If I want to reach those people, I have to have an Etsy shop.

The timer on this action I’m forced to take is running out. I know I’m not the only one in this situation. So I thought I’d share my backup plan.

I plan to create a throwaway bank account.

It’ll be a real account, with an FDIC-insured online-only bank.  You can get those for free these days.  It’s not a perfect plan, just the best one I have under the circumstances.

It’s going to mean more time spent doing things I can’t get paid for – which has been a real problem with a lot of Etsy’s recent changes.  I’m going to need to log into it every week to get my Etsy funds transferred out and into my real business bank account. I’m going to need to periodically check to be sure my new bank doesn’t change terms and start charging fees.

I’ve done my research, and I’m going with Ally bank, since it was recommended by a friend who uses it to take the occasional Facebook Marketplace payment.  There are quite a few options, however, and as always, I recommend doing your own research.

First, make sure the bank is FDIC-insured – that’s the designation that means funds inside it are insured by a government agency against loss.  Second, make sure there is no monthly fee.  Third, check to see that you can transfer funds out of it to your real account. Finally, make sure there is no daily balance minimum.

When you switch your deposits to the new account, you’ll lose access to your Etsy funds for at least 8 days – so you’ll need to prepare for that.

When you connect the new account to Etsy, then to Plaid, be sure to do the manual verification method.  Don’t give Plaid the login and password for your new bank account.

We are fighting for a non-Plaid option to verify our bank accounts, but our fight is still in the early stages.  Every day, more people receive the notice from Etsy telling them they have 30 days to connect to Plaid to keep receiving the funds that Etsy owes them.  Every day, more people join our fight.  Since I was in an earlier wave of the rollout of this policy, I needed a temporary solution while we continue to fight this violation of our rights to privacy.

If, like me, you’re looking at a timer that’s gotten dangerously low, I hope this information helped.

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