Chapter 8: Is Using an Online Payment System a Good Decision for my Online Business?

There are many online payment services today which provide you with an alternative way to traditional payment methods.  So unlike banks and credit card companies, services such as PayPal and CheckFree no longer require a business to have a merchant account.  In fact, using services like this not only provides a quicker way for money to be paid online, but it is more secure than having someone sending you a check or cash.  This is because the funds are electronically transferred to your account with them in order to settle any transaction made.

Such services have become especially popular among those who use online auction sites (such as Ebay), but also many other online businesses are now beginning to see the advantages of these services as well.  However, what is important to know is how they work, and how to avoid any potential problems that may arise.

Such services use a relatively simple process in order to transfer money from one person to another.  What you need to do is set up an account providing enough information which should include your real name, email address and credit card or bank account details (which are used to verify your identity).  Then, in order for someone to pay you, they enter your email address and the amount of the transaction in question.  This is then paid into your account, and can either then be transferred to your bank account, or a check can be sent to you.

However, many of the payment services will charge a small fee in order to transfer funds.  For example, PayPal charges you up to 2.5% for each transfer that they make (but this all depends on the amount).  But what should be remembered is that these fees are probably less than what you would normally pay for a credit card merchant account.  Also, such services can be especially helpful when you need to arrange for small repetitive payments to be made to your account, such as affiliate rewards and commissions.

But there are some drawbacks to be had from using a payment service, and these are as follows:-

  1. Many of them impose a daily or weekly limit on the amount of money that you send or receive. So if you want to exceed these limits you may find yourself incurring an additional fee for a “business account” or “premiere account”.
  1. These services are not banks, and therefore are not subject to strict banking regulations or protected by Federal Deposit Insurance.
  1. Often these services provide their customers with less protection against fraud and abuse than many credit card companies offer.
  1. Also, they are sometimes quick to freeze a customer’s account if they suspect fraudulent or other criminal activities are taking place. They can be so quick sometimes that some customers have found that their account has been frozen for no apparent reason whatsoever.

It is important that before you sign up to any payment service, you read through their terms and conditions thoroughly.  Plus, also read through their terms of service agreement carefully.  It is important that you fully understand and accept the service’s dispute policy, limits on liability, their fee structure and any other rules or regulations that they may have.   It is also important that you do not keep too much money in your account, rather hold in it enough to conduct a few days of business and any unused funds should be transferred over to your regular bank account.

Below are just a few more payment services that you may want to look at further when setting up an online business account.

  1. net. This service processes credit card and checking account transactions.
  1. BidPay. This allows person to person payments, in which they accept a credit card payment from the payer and then send a money order through to the payee.
  1. BillPoint. This also allows person to person payments, but from a credit card.  Originally this system was being targeted specifically at Ebay customers.
  1. E-Gold. This allows the payment in gold (silver, platinum or palladium) to be made from one customer to another using an account based system.
  1. PayPal. This is probably the most well known of payment services, and it allows user to user payments.  This is where a payer uses a credit card to pay money into another user’s account.  Or, in fact, they can use money they already have in that account in order to pay for the goods they have purchased.
  1. World Pay. This service provides both an internet merchant account, and payment processing service in one package.