Thinking Of Taking Money Online? Whats Best For Merchants? PayPal, WorldPay or Something Else?

It's now easier than ever to take payments on the web. As people selling their wares take pot shots at eCommerce providers in an ever-increasing battle to sabotage their "competitors'" success it gets harder and harder to find an honest unbiased opinion.

So that's what I'm setting out to do in today's article.

You see, as we've enabled 3 different payment methods at www.BookShaker.com I feel I can comment in a far less biased way than people sticking with a single solution.

*** IMPORTANT NOTICE ***

Obviously, these are just my opinions and any solution you choose will have pros and cons. What's best for one company might not be right for another. So take your time to really understand what's involved by asking the provider before committing to a solution.

PayPal - www.PayPal.com

Some people, rightly or wrongly (in my opinion - wrongly) are afraid to pay via PayPal which has given it a bad rep and does lead to a loss of sales for merchants using it if they are unknown to the customer.

Pros:

* It's really easy to get a payment button up and running on your site

* You can use it to securely send payments to others

* Anyone who's ever used eBay will already have an account

* Giving refunds is a doddle

* Great low-cost way of adding secure credit card payments to your site

* They're not greedy with commission or charges

* Multiple currencies supported

Cons:

* Poor perception in the marketplace (in my opinion this is due to people who've paid through the teeth for another solution trying to make it hard on people just starting out)

* This is the biggy - people from many countries (such as South Africa) are unable to get a PayPal account which reduces sales potential if you sell internationally.

Summary:

I've used PayPal a lot in the past and still do. If you are planning on accepting payments from clients that already know you then this is the best and fastest option for enabling the process. You need to check your own biases (ie did you just hear it was bad) and encourage reluctant clients to try it out - it's safe!

WorldPay - www.WorldPay.com

This is seen as THE standard for online stores and eCommerce. Customers trust merchants with WorldPay because they know it costs the store owner a lot more to set up - which goes someway to proving they're a bone-fide company who won't do a runner.

Pros:

* Good customer perception. Adds kudos and helps customers feel safe with you. We noticed a peak in sales pretty much immediately after making WorldPay live on our site.

* International currencies (but at a cost)

* Their checking procedure ties in with Distance Selling laws so when you pass you can be confident you're applying good practice as an online merchant.

* Looks good and can be customised to fit pretty seamlessly into your site's style.

Cons:

* They charge you a small fortune just to get started and then make you wait for a few weeks while they do their bit

* High - bordering on extortionate - charges means they can eat your profit - individual transaction fees mean that tiny payments (I'd say anything sub £4) are also out of the question.

* They pay you your own money 4 weeks in arrears - bad for cashflow of smaller firms and seems to benefit them more than anyone else!

* They MAKE you put their logo (which I personally think is awful) on your site. This, again seems to serve their interests rather than the customer or merchant.

* Integrating with your site is not as easy as PayPal or NoChex (will probably need a techy)

* Every additional currency accepted costs you extra to set up

* They charge you an additional transaction fee on top to protect you against fraud

NoChex - www.NoChex.com

Last time I checked NoChex was only available to UK companies - but if you're providing a service or product to UK customers only then this could be your best bet for a fast, low-cost way to start taking payments.

Pros:

* Easy to set up and add payments

* Customers don't need to register

* They're really generous on the charges front - not greedy at all.

* It's totally secure

Cons:

* Hardly anyone has heard of them which could lead to people being afraid to provide card details

* The payment page is a bit 90s and looks garish

* It's just for UK

Oh and NoChex give you a breakdown to show you just how varied the range of charges can be... http://help.nochex.com

'Dangerous' Debbie Jenkins
[email protected]

(c) Copyright 2005 www.BookShaker.com

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