My email to paypal tech support was thus:
I have no idea if this is the right category to ask, but I’ve been attempting to buy Microsoft Points from Xbox.com using my PayPal account all day and it’s not letting me. All it tells me is:
"Your payment instrument could not be authorized. Please contact your provider, or try a different payment option."
I contacted Xbox Support about it and they say there’s nothing wrong with my account on their end, so it must be a PayPal problem. My PayPal account is verified, has existed for years, and I’ve used it to buy items on various other web portals, and I’ve used it to buy Microsoft Points from Xbox.com before.
But for some reason it’s not working. Furthermore, as far as I can tell, no limitations have been imposed on my PayPal account to cause something like this.
It took them a little over two days, but here’s their response:
Upon checking, The funding source that you were trying to use was temporarily unavailable due to our internal security model screening the transactions on the system. Some funding sources might not be available for a particular transaction.
Our anti-fraud practices and transaction reviews are in place for everyone, but they do occasionally affect an account in good standing, such as yours. This is similar to the way banks and credit card companies work. They use complex statistical models to identify transaction patterns out of ordinary. Our statistical model is mainly set up for security.
As an option, you would need to use a different funding source if you wish to send this specific payment through PayPal
In other words, “sometimes we just won’t let you spend money for weird security reasons, and you won’t know why until after it has already happened”.
Thanks for that, I guess.