PayPal gets into the merchant account business 17 Jun 2005

41 comments Latest by Dave

PayPal effectively enters the merchant account business with Website Payments Pro. Now sites can use PayPal to process credit card transactions without having to send folks to PayPal. This is what a lot of people have been waiting for. Look out merchant account companies.

41 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Sean 17 Jun 05

Will certainly expand their operations

blackant 17 Jun 05

Here’s my favorite blurb:

“There are no setup fees, monthly fees, or cancellation fees. There is a low monthly fee of $20.00 USD…” (page 8 of the demo)

Dan Boland 17 Jun 05

Yeah, I wonder what took them so long… I’ve always thought this was the logical next step for them. I’d use it if I had something to sell. =D

Seth 17 Jun 05

Cool, now they can freeze my business account for no reason as well!

Paypal are thieves…I’ve had them shut off my ebay-linked account before just because I “received too much money in too short of a time frame”.

I had to wait a month before they unfroze the account. Fun!

Chuck McKinnon 17 Jun 05

Seth, I thought those were PayPal problems 3-4 years ago? I remember there were websites like paypalsucks.com, but I thought since the eBay takeover things had improved.

Seth 17 Jun 05

No way…Paypal still does really shady stuff all the time. I have a few friends who make a living off of ebay sales and they’re always running into trouble. One in particular won’t even do business with Paypal any longer and has switched to taking money orders and using Western Union.

Beyond that, last I checked Paypal isn’t a bank, so they’re not obligated to follow any of the rules and regulations of a bank. Basically they can make up whatever rules they want and take your money at any time.

I’ve had many, many problems with them in the past, including web site business transactions processed through Paypal. What sucks is that there’s not an alternative easy-to-use payment processor - so sometimes I still get stuck with using Paypal.

Wejn 17 Jun 05

@ Seth:

Yeah, my experience, exactly.

And it doesn’t end just with frozen accounts.

To verify yourself you one has to do all sorts of crazy things.
I understand them wanting fax copy of ID (driver’s license) … but when you’re asked for additional fax copies of passport, bank statement and finally fax copy of utility bill … whoa! What will come next? Your first-born being held as hostage?

Generally better to screw them and go for other services.

(and hey, not that moneybookers are any better than PayPal)

kmilden 17 Jun 05

Yeah. I don’t know for sure but is paypal even a bank? I heard it was an arm of ebay that will hold your money for you then they pay the person you send money to but it isn’t like its an official wire transfer. More like a digital bookie. I hear it is a great way to pay your drug dealers, gambling debts and of course the stolen merchandise you bought on ebay.

DeniedLates 17 Jun 05

Are there any similar sites already doing what PayPal is now doing? I’ve been looking for a merchant account but the above comments about PayPal’s shadiness make me want to look somewhere else…

Mike 17 Jun 05

I have had some problems with PayPal but they are very reasonable. Yes, I have had my account frozen but lets get real people, there is a ton of fraud on the Internet and there is a reason why PayPal is so safe.

They keep the bad guys out and once in a while unfortunately, they flag a good guy by accident. Overall, I have a website and do lots of business with PayPal and their customer support has been getting much better over the past 18 months.

Seth 17 Jun 05

If you’re looking for a good processor, Authorize.net is who I’ve been using recently. No complaints with them to date.

Chris from Scottsdale 17 Jun 05

I think GoDaddy and 2Checkout are doing this?

James 18 Jun 05

According to the WSJ, Google may be getting into the electronic-payment game too.

Google plans pay service to rival PayPal-WSJ

-b- 18 Jun 05

Dealing with a gateway company can be just as difficult as any PayPal troubles anyone has had. Where PayPal will always win is in cost for a small business. As a small business, we can’t afford the gateway fees and transaction fees and that’s why we put up with the PayPal problems. Their pro features have been long needed and welcome.

JF 18 Jun 05

-b- is right — the merchant account and gateway business is rife with hidden fees, hassles, and a general shadiness I’ve never been able to pin down but have experienced on multiple occasions. I have more faith in the PayPal process than what I’ve experienced elsewhere so far.

michael 18 Jun 05

I’m looking to go with the paypal system myself to get my business off the ground.

James - thanks for the pointer on the Google story. I’ll be on the lookout for that.

Jon B. 18 Jun 05

Yeah, I really don’t see why they didn’t get into this sooner. It only makes sense (and cents for them. I know, bad joke…) But honestly, I worked for a company that sold on eBay for about a year and I never had troubles with the Paypal side of things. eBay was way more of a pain in the ass to deal with.

I cant really compare to using Authorize.net or similar, but $500 startup costs are quite a bit for small companies trying to make a go at Ecommerce.

Red M. 18 Jun 05

Google is getting into this with Google payments. announced today I think.

Stephen S. 19 Jun 05

Sam Sugar,

The lack of willingness to accept high-risk merchants is not something that is done by PayPal alone, almost all merchant account providers do not accept high-risk merchants. I guarantee google will also not accept them.

JDresse 19 Jun 05

It’s unlikely Google’s service would resemble PayPal in any meaningful way. Google already does some specific payment processing (taking payments for ads and paying out AdSense partners) and has stated that Google Video will have a payment component. I doubt they will attempt a general purpose payment system anytime soon.

AK 19 Jun 05

Does anyone know if Google or PayPal will support recurring billing?

Todd Dominey 20 Jun 05

This looks like a pretty good deal. The standard rate of 2.9% plus $.30 USD is exactly the same rate I’m currently being charged (with slideshowpro.com), but WPP provides lower fees if you sell more than $3,000 per month, which isn’t the case with the regular PayPal system (same rate regardless of sales volume). Existing merchants then essentially pay an extra $20 per month for a PayPal-invisible service, plus the opportunity to save about 10 cents per transaction if they sell more than $3k per month. So if you sell enough product, the net cost could be exactly the same (but you get your own shopping cart).

JF 20 Jun 05

Todd is right. The other thing, in my opinion, that I like is the fact that there don’t seem to be any hidden fees. The merchant account business is often filled with these hidden fees. An extra $10 here, an extra $20 there, an extra % here if you don’t do this or that. Plus, if you use anti-fraud measures (using address verification, etc) you can actually be charged an extra 1.5% by some merchant account providers.

PayPal’s system just seems so much simpler which is a huge plus in my book.

dmr 20 Jun 05

Has anyone found a viable micropayment system? We’ve been looking for a service to sell $1 items online and losing .20 to .30 cents per transaction will kill the whole thing.

It seems lame that paypal doesn’t have a cheap alternative to micropayments if you’re paying from a paypal account to a paypal account—no credit card processing involved.

richard 20 Jun 05

There’s also another PayPal alternative brewing called GreenZap, if I’m not mistaken. I’ve never used that service, but someone asked if there were alternatives to Paypal and that’s one that I know of. They might be worth keeping an eye on.

Esteban Trueba 20 Jun 05

It’s a very good idea. Congratulations.

Anonymous Coward 21 Jun 05

And now Google Wallet.

dmr 21 Jun 05

Todd, Bitpass is still 15% to 30% for up to $5 transactions. Still not so good for dollar items; but 1/2 of paypal I suppose.

Anonymous Coward 21 Jun 05

dmr, sounds like you want everything for nothing.

Swati 21 Jun 05

Quite frankly, I found the last comment from Anonymous quite offending. If you’ve got a $1 transaction, you’d want the most of it because the profit is not as high as other transactions.

drm, I was also looking for a service similar to this and found only CCAvenue as a fairly good competitor (7%) but they are not as invisible as most merchant processors. Plus having them out of the country doesn’t make it as comfortable for me.

Anyway, it’d be nice to see some more micro-payment-processors out there, perhaps $1 business could grow out there.

William 26 Sep 05

A little higher up, I can empathize with Seth, completely! I am a large wholesaler of Consumer Electronics (yes, I know where to get the good stuff cheap!). We will generally list anywhere between 45 – 75 items per day. Listing Plasma TV’s and home theater systems does not take long to begin building a nice nest egg in your PayPal account.

I have had my fill of PayPal. In short, PayPal froze our account to the tune of $18,000 for one days auction, which took approximately 45 days to release. And again, approximately 1 year, four months later for $21,500 which took another 30 days to retrieve! Our unforgivable sin? PayPal was concerned for the security of our account as the auction payments received were considerably higher than the norm. We always withdrew our funds daily, as we too have read the horror stories of PayPal.

We gradually allowed our auction to end, and remedied any outstanding complaints pending in PayPal’s resolution center, which for a seller means that you WILL refund the Buyer whether a chargeback has been issued or not. Often times, without us even receiving the return of the item. Seller protection is nothing more than a punchline on PayPal. Believe me, in PayPal’s eyes, it is all about the Buyer’s! Anyhow, once all funds were transferred, illustrating a zero balance in our PayPal account, I immediately closed the related business banking account. I then closed our PayPal account, for good! I then began using a merchant account (e-onlinedata), and to say that I it was an improvement was an understatement! You cannot imagine the ton of bricks being lifted from your shoulders knowing that your money was not going to be whisked away from you by some unregulated cyber-bully. Just as importantly, we lost perhaps one 2% of the chargebacks, which before with PayPal lost 100%! Remember, PayPal is all about the Buyer.

Now that I have illustrated how things transformed from a fiscal Purgatory to Eden, allow me to shift gears and elucidate the anticipated problems which began arising with eBay. When we had a PayPal account, eBay was never anything but helpful. Keeping in mind that eBay owns PayPal, and the high dollar volume we were transferring, PayPal was probably not pleased with the manner in which we closed out account for a merchant account who supported our mission. EBay became very visual, sending threatening emails every time we had a dispute with a Buyer. In short, out account was threatened for suspension every time there was a Buyer dispute, and to ward off the realization of this suspension, we promptly refunded the buyer, often times without receiving the merchandise in return. Sound familiar? I began to realize that PayPal has simply become the strong-arm of eBay. EBay is allowed to play the part of the customer friendly host (good cop), while PayPal keeps you on edge, by pushing you around (bad cop) and threatening a “no hassle return policy”. When we terminated our PayPal account, PayPal was no longer a combatant, and had been removed as an obstacle. To ensure that the Buyer is satisfied at all costs, eBay then steps in and begins taking an adversarial role with the Seller. Conjointly, eBay wants to send a loud and powerful message to Sellers, that your new Merchant Account cannot protect you from eBay/PayPal’s reach, and ruffle your feathers until you are so flustered (if fortunate not to be suspended), you will begin to ponder if returning to PayPal is not a viable option? Any of this making sense?


Lisa 31 Jan 06

This is a big fat joke seriously. I’ve tried and it doesn’t accpet credit cards from countries where paypal isn’t available

Scott 28 May 06

On top of all that, if you have a business merchant account and make a personal sale, like I did, they charge you the 2.9% +30 cents. Then the impatient buyer filed a dispute and it appears that paypal took that percentage again, and froze the money, even though the item was sent. Bundled with UPS overcharging by 200% and stealing money from my bank account on a seperate charge, and my bank taking a $30 overdraft fee for a charge that shouldn’t even be there, this was not a very good first experience as an ebay seller. Screw Paypal, Ebay and UPS!!!

JOHN 26 Aug 06

HELLO I AHVE BEEN PUSHED AROUND BY EBAY AND PAYPAL SINCE I STARTED, BUT I PURCHASED MY COMPUTER SOLELY FOR THE EBAY SITE , SINCE THEN I HAVE BEEN OVER CHARGED ,DOUBLE CHARGED, HAD MY LISTINGS STOLEN BY OTHERS AND HAD MY LISTINGS REMOVED BY EBAY WHEN THEY KNOW IT WAS MY LISTING , HAD LISTINGS CANCELED FOR WHAT REASON ONLY EBAY KNOWS, MY TIME AND MONEY WASTED , AND I DONT KNOW HOW TO GET AHOLD OF EBAY NO MORE THAN I CAN LIVE WITHOUT THE SITE AT THIS TIME DUE TO FINANCES, BUT I DONT FEEL EBAY HAS GOOD BUISSNESS ETHICS AND DO BELIEVE I DESERVE MY CHANCE IN FRONT OF A JURY TO TELL MY COMPLETE STORY OF ALL THAT CAN AND WILL GO WRONG WITH EBAY IF THERE IS NO WAY FOR INNOCENT PEOPLE TO TALK WITH THE INTERNET GIANT ABOUT THE MANY SERIOUS PROBLEMS WITH THE SITE , PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME IN MASSACHUSETTES VIA EMAIL AT
VINTAGEMOTO@WMCONNECT.COM
THERE ARE NO LAWYERS IN MASS WILLING TO DEAL WITH EBAYS MEGA STOLEN BUCKS THEY HAVE AT THEIR DISPOSAL TO DEFEND THEIR GROWING ITCHY FINGERS ,,, I DO STILL SELL ON EBAY AND HAVE BEEN FOR OVER 4 YEARS WITH DIFFERENT ACCOUNTS WITH FEEDBACK FROM UP TO 210 THANKYOU AWAITING YOUR REPLY THANKS AGAIN

JOHN AGAIN 26 Aug 06

ALSO i WAS WONDERING IF ANYONE KNOWS OF AN ALTERNATIVE TO EBAY, IVE BEEN TRING THESE FREE SITES (DUE TO EBAY TAKING ALL MY MONEY)WITH NO REPLYS AND HAVE BEEN SELLING ITEMS WORTH $100’S FOR A DOLLAR 4 QUARTERS EBAYS NEW NAME SHOULD BE PENNY CANDY CAUSE ROBING THEIR CLIENTS IS LIKE TAKING CANDY FROM A BABY THUS GIVING THEM THE NAME” PENNY CANDY”

Dave 02 Oct 06

I too am looking for an alternative to Paypal, but sadly as a friend pointed out, doesn’t really matter who the seller uses, it’s who the buyer uses, and as long as the buyer is treated better then the seller by eBay then we are pretty much screwed! The only alternative that I can really see is not accepting Creadit cards at all, then you are really doomed.
Paypal pulled the same on me as they have many others, “you made to many transactions in too short of a period of time we think you are money laundering” The real funny part is while they want to acuse me of this I have recieved 7 fake ebay emails. Clearly they have no respect or use for sellers at eBay and use Paypal to discourage sellers.
As far as the web site paypalsucks it is still there and still getting posted to all the time, sadly enough. I wish someone could get the CEO of eBay to go read that site. Might be a different world after that!
Now the rumor mill (cnet.com) is claiming that Microsoft is looking at buying eBay out, I am not sure that M$ is ready for the headaches that go with Paypal which they will in up with. But since paypal is making it impossible for honest people to sell on eBay I am not sure that Microsoft can really do any worst.
Here are some amazing facts about Paypal,
Every year since 2001 they have been sued through a class action lawsuit for their practices. They have lost every one.
Each year thousands of compliants are filed with the FTC about paypal but clearly nothing much can be done to them as they are not a bank. The only jurisdiction they seem to fall under is the interstate EFT laws and really they do that without a problem it’s getting them to that point that kills us all!
Like a lot of others I am damn near out of business because of paypal, now I am not as lucky as the person that posted earlier, I sell small cheap computer hardware componets and try to do good by the customer and for myself, but after 3 days and $562 in sales at an average of $15 a sale paypal decided I had to be laundring money, and froze my account fortunate that I did not have that much in there as my little business run out of the extra bedroom depends on me buying faster then I am selling.
There has to be a reasonable atlernative to Paypal, and some of the merchant accounts I have looked at are not it. I am not a worldwide corporation and really have no desire to be, I am just trying to generate a little extra income from my experience and my resourcefullness using whats available. It took me aprox 3 months to gather enough inventory to even attempt to start selling on eBay, then after $562 in sales, and with auctions ending I watched as I started getting e-mails that Paypal would not accept buyers credit cards, I went to my account and found that it had been frozen, and I lost $402 that night! I was proud that my work was about to gross me $1,068 in 3 days and was busy looking to replinish inventory when Paypal stepped in and destroyed my entire business as fast as they did, I am further surprised by the lack of concern on their part, and shocked at the lack of concern on eBay’s part. And from what I read on several sites including this one I now can look for eBay to suspend my account till Paypal is done with an investigation, which according to Paypal may take 120 days.
I guess the moral of this is simple, we all did our homework and found a niche that we thought we could make a little money at, we worked hard to make it go, to bad that eBay/Paypal can’t do the same and treat the sellers way better while spoof/phising e-mails are still rampant!

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