[thelist] What are paypal alternatives?

David Kaufman david at gigawatt.com
Tue Mar 27 12:35:49 CDT 2007

Hi Matthias,

Matthias Ritzkowski <matthiar at gmail.com> wrote:
> This February I did the same for a bigger transaction scope at
> http://www.germansaturdayschoolboston.org
> and we have had a ton of paypal related problems. Customers having to
> open paypal accounts instead of being able to use credit cards etc.
> The total volume is $200,000 so we pay a good chunk of fees to
> paypal, but get no support service whatsoever.
> What else is out there? What do people use when they don't use paypal?
> I just looked at http://www.chronopay.com/ ... Are they legit?

e-onlinedata has a nice low-fee merchant account just for nonprofits (which your client appears to be),  Check them out at https://www.e-onlinedata.com/nonprofit 

I haven't used them for a merchant account myself (yet!), but they are Authorize.net partners and I've used authorize.net on several e-commerce sites.  Their gateway service and software/API are all excellent.

e-onlinedata is a merchant account provider (recommended by pair.com, my web hosting provider, with who they also partner).  Their site is very informative and no-nonsense (unlike most merchant account providers, who try to sell themselves as more than they are, and charge accordingly!) and these guys offer the only non-profit merchant account like this that I've seen -- I was thinking about using them for evolt donations :-)

Anyway, both of my Authorize.net clients used their bank (Citibank) for their merchant accounts, and paid way too much, and got lousy support from Citibank.  Clients always tend to want to (or think that they have to) use their "brick-and-mortar" bank for their credit card merchant account, but there is no need to do that, and its often a mistake.  Regular banks don't specialize in online transactions, have little clue, and are your 1st-line support if you have a problem.

An online merchant account provider who specializes in web-sales gives much better service, and the merchant account is not a bank account in the traditional sense ...although setting one up requires you to fill out as many nosey forms and applications :-)   It's just a clearing account: the money comes in from payments and is direct-deposited into your U.S. or Canadian checking account, usually the next day.  Some merchant accounts have a 3 to 30 (to 90!) day holding period of funds from internet sales, but thats to protect them against massive fraud and chargebacks -- your site will seem very low-risk compared to other ecommerce web sites, especially to an internet savvy provider like e-onlinedata!

Using your own merchant account and the (IMO defacto standard) Authorize.net payment processing gateway, you will pay a LOT less in transaction fees, and have a lot more control that Paypal gives you.


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