[Foundation-l] Alternative to paypal

Andrew Gray shimgray at gmail.com
Sun Aug 12 16:48:41 UTC 2007

On 12/08/07, Anthony <wikimail at inbox.org> wrote:

> > When you accept credit cards, a percentage goes to VISA, Mastercard, etc.,
> > another percentage to your merchant account provider. How's that different
> > from Paypal/eBay taking a cut?
> >
> Merchant accounts are often cheaper, but they also are often harder to
> manage than paypal, especially when dealing with people in so many
> countries, using so many different currencies, etc.

Yeah. And even more hassle when people start messing around, which
occasionally happens.

Right now, we're effectively outsourcing the overheads of collecting
the donations to a third party; we could *perhaps* do that cheaper
internally, but it strikes me as equally likely we'd end up spending
more in staff time and energy handling it than we'd save on

> Support for micropayments is a cool feature, and something which isn't
> really offered by paypal.  Then again, the impact such a feature would
> have on foundation revenue would probably be small percentagewise.
> If I were King of Wikipedia I'd probably try out amazon's payment
> system for the cool factor, to have a readily available backup, and
> just to learn more about micropayments, but not for financial reasons.
>  I'm a big fan of trying out new stuff.

The only real question is "is it worth the effort". If we need to pay
a setup fee, will our income back through that cover it; will the
additional income from adding a n'th payment system offset the amount
of time and hassle to set it up and keep it going.

(If we make $5,000 through donations after we let people use X
service, it's probably worth us setting it up. If we make $50, it's
probably not. But it's hard to predict this)

Amazon is probably a fairly good bet as a non-trivial service - they
do have a large established userbase - and it might be worth trying to
estimate what proportion of potential donors that payment method
represents compared to Moneybookers. (I very much doubt it's going to
beat paypal...)

However, we do need to keep focused on a "main methods" approach.
There is (anecdotal? but I've heard it a few times) evidence that
offering more than two or three methods of payment confuses people and
makes them less likely to shell out - because they get confused and
annoyed. Right now, we have moneybookers, paypal, and a general "how
to pay us with real money" (the latter probably needing some pruning
and a bit of layout). There'd be nothing stopping us having a link
underneath to a page of "other ways to donate", though, with the
various 'backup' methods.

- Andrew Gray
  andrew.gray at dunelm.org.uk

More information about the foundation-l mailing list