As a result, it has enormous significance for online merchants.
I thought I’d try it out for size, and tell you the results.
This constitutes the first in a series of articles on Paypal and how to utilize it for your business.
Firstly the pros and cons. As I’ve already said, Paypal accepts international merchants so even as a startup you’ve got an excellent chance of gaining an account.
Customers can pay via a variety of credit cards though in common with most third-party processors, they charge a higher commission than individual merchant accounts.
If the person who is paying you doesn’t themselves have a Paypal account, they do unfortunately have to sign up for one before making a payment to you, the business owner.
On the other hand, the signup process is pretty quick and painless so it is unlikely to disuade many customers from purchasing though it has to be said that the harder you make it for your customer to purchase, the fewer will actually get out their credit cards and buy from you.
With Paypal not only can you accept payments via auctions but they also provide a shopping cart and a simple button generator.
The button generator is a feature I particularly like because all you do is fill in a few simple details such as your product name and the price, and like magic a “Buy Now” graphic button is produced which leads straight to your personal order form.
To see what I mean, I’ve included a sample button below.
Recently Paypal introduced what they call their “Paypal Developers Network” which encourages companies to develop business solutions using Paypal technology and I’ll be covering the options open to you in the very near future.
Suffice it to say that uptake appears to have been very good with several exciting new services and pieces of software now compatable with Paypal.
I personally signed up for an account to see just how easy (or otherwise) it was. Maybe I was just unlucky. To verify my status as an international merchant I had to register my credit card from which Paypal made a small ($1) charge.
The principle is that you wait for your credit card bill to arrive and next to the charge is a random four digit number which you enter into the Paypal website to verify your identity.
It’s a perfectly reasonable system though I personally got bored waiting several weeks for my bill to turn up.
Worse, when my bill finally did turn up I could find no sign of a Paypal charge, even though their website had said the charge had been made successfully.
This means one of two things; either Paypal didn’t charge my card as they promised, or the amount was so insignificant as to not show up on my bill. Either way I was pretty annoyed!
As a result, I’m still an unverified member!
The moral of the story is to apply for your account shortly before your credit card bill is due to arrive so you don’t have to wait around for a month before you find out something is wrong.
I regret to inform you that I have had numerous emails since this article was initially published generally supprting my findings, and suggesting my experiences were not unique.
If you’d still like to consider processing with Paypal then please here.
If you’ve had a similar experience, or if you’re an international merchant for whom everything went smoothly, please let me know by emailing me and I’ll publish updates.