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paypal integration -- dropped

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paypal integration -- dropped
I feel I should make the statement, since I had previously announced I was building in paypal support to my programs.

I need to state, that in the 2 years since paypal has been alive, they have gone steadily down hill, with the past few months being the absolute worst. They no longer offer any advantages over getting your own merchant account (if you are a real business) and they certainly don't offer better rates. Most merchant accounts are now charging 1.29-1.69 for swiped sales, and 2.49-2.69 for non-swipe internet sales. That beats the 3% paypal rate, and the "surcharges" they continue to apply to all transactions not only credit cards.

I will stop short of saying they are [explicative deleted] but they are not much beyond that.

This is my personal opinion from dealing with them the past 2+ years, and watching their service and quaility decline, and their "practices" alter to being somewhat deceptive and problematic. After a world of problems with them, and hearing about a world of issues involving them, I am not going to use them as my payment gateway any longer, so I have no incentive to support them.

My programs will have an "interface" in them that should allow adapting to any payment gateway system, including paypal, as long as your plugin/interface returns the proper data in the proper format, but I will not be specifically writing an interface for paypal.

For anyone looking at taking money on-line, doing a thorough investigation of the options available today, and a comparason of the rates, and features should be a top priority. Granted, we are a brick/morter operation, so we had an advantage, but I have been doing a LOT of investigation of payment gateways, gateway processing, and such, (for our own use and for the program interface) and the land scape is very different from what it was even 6 months ago.

I may make my findings available, as a "road map" through the maze at a later date, but I am not going to endorse a single, or group, of merchant processors, since each has an advantage in their own market.

FWIW -- paypal is of benefit if you BUY on-line, since so many "small" businesses use them for credit cards, but if you are taking money on-line, there are better options out there now, and personal transaction services like c2it are going to squeeze paypal from the bottom, while the business transaction processors like PaymentTech and their Ilk will continue to squeeze from the top.

The other change, that seems to have been overlooked in the past year or so, is that the SSL technology for most standard encrypted transactions is now off-patent, so you can get a secure server, and transaction technology without having to go through a licensing process any more. http://www.rsasecurity.com/news/pr/000906-1.html for the press release from RSA. In otherwords you can run a secure server, but you don't have to buy a digital certificate. The two are now different concepts, where the secure server describes the byte-level transaction and the digital certificate describes the validation of the organization making the transaction (ie: that you are really you at the other end of the secure connection).

Anyway... I'm here, I'm alive, and Thursday I should have my new DSL internet connection. I forgot just how frustrating dial up is!! It's literally been years since I've seen the "reconnect" message box in windows!

PUGDOG� Enterprises, Inc.

The best way to contact me is to NOT use Email.
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Re: [pugdog] paypal integration -- dropped In reply to
I have to disagree (from my own experience).

I have seen many improvements in their service including the option to allow non-US customers to make purchases without signing up first which is a great help.

Merchant accounts are a less attractive alternative as although the rate is a little lower there is normally a monthly fee which far outweights the paypal costs, although it is the ease of use too....filling in a web form and then having paypal do all the work is much more appealing for smaller businesses who have enough to deal with without all the transactions too. I've been using paypal for around 8 months and in that time I've only had to email them once and that was about something minor....apart from that the service has run flawlessly and I've received wire transfers to my bank in England within a couple of days and for $1.50

I'll also be releasing my Links SQL shopping cart plugin which uses paypals IPN system within the next couple of weeks.

Last edited by:

Paul: Apr 10, 2002, 2:26 AM
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Re: [Paul] paypal integration -- dropped In reply to
Me too. I love the service. A merchant account of my own just scares me to be quite honest. I don't need the overheads, and many other websites/businesses probably feel the same. I've released 3 script which support PayPal payments (PayPal Shop, PayPal Multi-Shop and now my PPC Banner script which accepts paypal payments to top up).

I personally think they are a great site. I know they are going through a rough time with legal things, but every business goes through that now and then ;)

Anyway, I'm certainly going to keep developing scripts to work with PayPal, and for people who don't want to use PayPal, then I offer the option of ClickBank too :)

Andy (mod)
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Re: [A.J.] paypal integration -- dropped In reply to
I have had both good and bad dealing with Paypal.

I find they are NOT geared for Canadian business (they will only accept USD), and this is a big turn off to the Canadian clients I have had so far... despite posting warning on the site that the prices are in USD, they still automatically assumed it was CDN tender, and were suprised when the got their receipt or statement.

Their support is slow but there all the same (they have always replied to me), which other than Gossamer, would have to be a first for me with the companies I have delt with (including major banks!).

I am glad you are writing support for Paypal in you scripts.... A.J. , I am very interested in what you are developing or have developed here which does accept Paypal.

On the otherhand, I agree with Pugdog... they are pricey. Where is the on-line payment solution for the small guy with low traffic throughput? you know the start-up site? The security certificate is not that expensive any more from what I cann tell... so I am left wondering why accepting payments on line is still so rediculously priced?

In any case if either of you are developing scripts, from a users point of you (and this is just my opinion, it is nice to have software which gives me the OPTION of using one or several other payment companies, including my own if I had one. And since Paypal is so commonly used, I think it is also nice to have that built in as a choice.

Just some thoughts.

Last edited by:

sooke: Apr 10, 2002, 9:28 AM
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Re: [sooke] paypal integration -- dropped In reply to
>>On the otherhand, I agree with Pugdog... they are pricey.<<

I used to pay 10% commission on all sales so I guess thats why they seem cheap to me :)
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Re: [Paul] paypal integration -- dropped In reply to
Yeah, click bank is 7.5% and $1.50 per sale...PayPal is far cheaper than them to me too ;)

Andy (mod)
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Re: [A.J.] paypal integration -- dropped In reply to
My comments have to do with a number of personal, and reported problems. Things a "real" merchant account cannot, and would not do. If your business depends on having a reliable account, then paypal is simply not the option. Paypal's "guarantee" is nothing but lip service, they have removed money from my account AFTER I sent the item, and I had confirmed delivery. They NEVER replied, nor explained their action. There was no discussion. FWIW ... in over 9 years, we've never lost a chargeback claim with our MC/Visa processor. If you talk to merchants, most have found they weasle out of the "guarantee" almost every time.

There are other things I cannot discuss, but the problems with them are growing.

[[ Also, my point of view is from a TRUE BUSINESS view point, not an individual trying to pick up a few extra dollars. By that I mean at least 2-3 different families (employees) all needing to pay their bills on a regular basis from the income generated off the services and products offered, not a person looking to generate a second income or to cover the fees for their hosting. To pick a number, perhaps at least a $5,000 a month minimum transaction volume, but more likely $15-20,000 monthly transaction volume. For a "pure" Internet or non-brick-morter operation, maybe double that. So, I'm obviously not talking about the people who are getting 25 sign ups for $15 each a month. I guess I need to make that clear. This also applies to any PERSON who is really trying to develop a business, and sees their transaction volume growing from $1000/month to $5,000/month over the next year or so. Again, it's not aimed at the person looking for about $500/month to fund their Internet addiction. ]]

I agree, they are less than the 10% or 15% that was being charged by other companies. With "less" comes it's own problems. They find out they don't have any resources to add more, and start cutting services, or charging for services in any way they can. This means, services you were using, may now cost you more than you can really afford, or the new costs hurt your pricing system. But, they can only RAISE rates to add more services, while the other companies have room to LOWER rates on their existing services, or maintain rates while adding new ones.

If you look at what PayPal was originally -- a "free" service, to provide a means of moving money on the net, using the "float", you'll see how they got greedy. They decided that they weren't going to wait for the payoff, but started charging. Then, they decided to charge for everything. Then, they shut out MC/Visa payments for individuals -- which was their original marketing ploy. You now have to "upgrade" to a 3% fee account to take any amount of MC/Visa, and once you do, they charge the 3% on every transaction. Not even close to their original promises.

For a "new" customer, maybe they seem great. For one of the original customers, they have been a problem, and getting more expensive -- and problematic -- every day.

Our own payment processor, on the other hand, has gotten CHEAPER.

Most people take the easy way out, and use a service like Ibill, CCBill, etc. Each of these companies pays the 1.5% MC/Visa fee, then has to take an additional percentage to provide their services. Because of the amount of fraud in people who can't get their own MC/Visa account, these fees are often far above the UNDER 3% you could get for non-swipe sales from your own account -- on the order of an additional 10%.

Now, if you are paying eBay fees, and every one of your auctions sells the first time, you are still paying about 3% overall to them.

If you use an auction service, you are paying an additional approximately 3% over all to use that.

Add that up, and you have at the minimum a 3% paypal, 3% auction and 3% service fee. If you put an additional 10% on top of that for using a 3rd party payment processor, you are paying almost 20% BEFORE you see any profit. If your auctions don't sell, your costs go WAY up fast.

If you run a "services" site, and you get a lot of charge backs, or declined charges, often you don't see those for 30-90 days, you'll see a major rise in the "overhead" costs as well.

Where is this going?

Most people breathe a sigh of releif from joing PayPal, and getting it work, if they have been using another payment processor. If you have been using something like CCBill or iBill on your adult (or membership) site, you'll probably _NOT_ see any real increase in money, and you'll be doing a lot of work that has been done for you by the SOP of the ccBill/iBill system. Even Adult Check and their ilk work out better.

But, PayPal is nothing more than a glorified iBill, ccBill, or Adult Check Gold type service. They bill for you, and take a surcharge. They actually do LESS for you than any of the other services, and they do charge less.

(I have to be careful about disclosing the details of our problems as yet).

They are designed mainly for interfacing with eBay, and in forcing the customer to use their bank account, not their charge cards (the defaults keep resetting, and if not careful, you can bounce your rent payment, and not know it!)

What's the alternative?

Do some homework.

Check out payment processors, transaction gateways, and getting your own merchant account.

Our local bank sold our merchant account years ago, to a company 10 states away, so you don't need to go through your bank any more. Merchant accounts are now a separate thing.

The larger companies offer more services too. You can add them, or not, to your account.

In short, PayPal was a good alternative, when it offered real benefits. The other companies have caught up, and PayPal now has to satisfy shareholders, so the "float" that was going back into the system, is now paying dividends. The other companies have been doing that for years, and have streamlined their system.

Many offer add-ons such as gift cards, ("stored value cards") and check processing. That means you can set up and accept checks by mail, or on-line.

I do realize that many people are an internet only business, but we are not. Even internet only businesses that sell tangible goods, benefit from a real Merchant account because of the ability to process fax, mail and phone orders as well as Internet, and there are a lot of people who still prefer to send a check for almost anything. Telecheck makes that as secure as, or even more so, than MC/Visa.

These _ARE_ my personal observations, and they are scrambled here after a long night, but they are based on 9 years of having a merchant account, and trying to find a way to get money from the Internet as well. I've used just about EVERY system out there, since 1984, and all of them showed promise from the start (even Adult Check had promise for those few webmasters who signed up early... - I had a 4 digit account number, or something equally short).

5 years ago the Internet was something no one understood.

Today, ALL the payment processors -- MC/Visa, AmEx, Discover, etc -- realize they will live and die by the Internet. The transaction processors, (the companies that provide these accounts to banks, businesses and individuals) also realize that they will live and die by what Internet services they can offer.

It's not "Internet Only" any more. Brick and Morter stores require the ability to process Internet payments the way they processed mail and in-store transactions. They want comparable rates.

Check around. You'll find that companies that wouldn't talk to you last year, will make you deals today. Many have dropped their "set up" fees, and lowered the costs of getting started. (As I said, I cannot, and will not, make recommendations, since I am not going to be in any way responsible for your actions ;))

You might have to do a bit more to "prove" you are legit to these companies, but PayPal has started to ask for the rights to clone the DNA of your First Born as well. <G>. You might find that the requirements of the major gateways are LESS INVASIVE than PayPal.

I'm not trashing PayPal. They have a niche. It's not the same niche they promised when they started, and I don't like what has been happening to us, and to others.

To that end, I cannot put my time into continuing to develop a system that I'm not going to use.

Look at it this way --- auction bidders love to see you take paypal. It means you take credit cards, checks, and they "think" they get protection. It's not a hassle. Everyone else pretty much only cares that you can take their credit card (and/or check) over a secure connection. They look for the MC/Visa/AmEx logo on your site, _NOT_ paypal. Actually, if you take PayPal on your site (website, ie: your BUSINESS STORE FRONT) you look sort of rinky dink. "Real" merchants have their own MC/Visa accounts.

Think about it. You go to your local specialty shop, chain store, or restaurant, you only see their MC/Visa stickers, you don't see a sign saying "We take payments through XYZ intermediary processor".

If you are a BUYER ---- having a paypal account helps, because there are so many people who have not set up merchant accounts, the only way I can use my charge cards with them is through pay pal.

We are SELLERS here. Site Owners. Membership Providers. Advertising Publishers. If you can take MC/Visa and AmEx, what do you need PayPal for? Or iBill? Or any of the others? The customer can still use their credit card, and often their check, direct to your account. It works out the same for them, except they have to type in their billing information.

(I'm actually talking myself into setting up an information site on this stuff.... but I just don't have the time right now.)

(I think I should have tried to get some sleep, rather than type ... but I was so excited playing with the new Internet connection... 1.5 DSL :) Two 75k downloads going at once! Anyway...)

On another issue.... (actually THE issue)

I am setting up PrintingMinis.com and MiniPrintables.com which will be the test/demo site for the upload/etc programs. I decided I'm not going to use my "live" sites as a testing bed, since they will be linked to our shop shortly, but I can set up this new site, and develop it, then integrate it into the network.

The idea:

Part of our business is miniature wood working ie: dollhouses, 1" scale mostly.

Many things in a doll house can be printed on the higher end printers now -- books, magazines, photos, pictures, etc. If you are not building a "quality" house, you can even print your rugs, wall paper and such. Even furniture (maybe even place-holder furniture until you can find the "real" mccoy)

There are several sites out there, many go up and down, since the owners can't afford to keep them.

The project:

We'll provide a links-based system for designers to upload their actual printables, and serve them off our system. They can link back to their site, but we'll provide both a free, and charge-per-download system for distribution.

We'll also provide a directory of sites that provide their own printables, and have a charge-for-position logo links set up.

This _should_ take into account all the features people are looking for -- multiple uploads, multiple attachments, auto-resize/info for pictures, multiple media modules (pdf, doc, etc), logo/paid positioning, and payment gateway integration. It will also include the updated, revised, and reworked ratings/review system.

Time Frame:

I should have the site up this weekend, in "generic" form. I'll start adding in the features, and running a forum there to discuss the features and such, specifically. (Because of that, I might re-direct the PUGDOCS forum to that one). PUGDOCS.com will again start to be updated with the tidbits and such that comes from developing this site.

The site probably won't have any "new" features until the end of the month, or early next month, as I need to get the network smoothed out, and finish putting the necessary features on the sites I still have to reanimate.

By putting the development into ONE site, one location, it will make my life easier, and will make it easier for people to comment, find bugs, and get a feel for what the "final" product will look like. It will be based on the GT default template set, and I will try to NOT modify the set beyond what is necessary for operations of each of the new features. Not every site is going to want everything, but everything should work together.

I'll yank any "beta" features from my other sites, so if you are following any "test" links, you'll find those probably not working after this weekend, but the "features" will be available for testing on the PrintingMinis.com site.

If anyone has suggestions, I'm open. I'm 99% back to pre-crash (in more than one...two...five? ways) status.

My mail has been _really_ screwed up. One windows machine was literally "eating" stuff with no discernable pattern, and the other machine was "hiding" it. My Windows ME machine is about useless (I'll have to back it up and reinstall it, or switch it down to 98), and my two Windows 98 machines are past due for their 6 month windows reinstall (Have I ever said I HATE WINDOWS!). So, best way to contact me still is a PM here.

I have a Unix server on the network now, and maybe I'll switch the ME machine to Unix, since the only thing I really use it for is Mail, Web Browsing, and script development -- all perfectly doable in Unix.

Anyway, lot's of changes, but I think this is the final, final, final, last revision -- for this week :)

(BTW, my Verizion DSL was installed in 3 business days, 2 business days early, and worked immediately with only the splitter being added to filter the line to the fax machine. No rewiring, no pole climbing, no making custom cables.... I'm impressed. --- the problems I had with ISDN pre and post install, and the install for my first DSL line are a thing of the past! Plug and play -- literally!)

PUGDOG� Enterprises, Inc.

The best way to contact me is to NOT use Email.
Please leave a PM here.
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Re: [pugdog] paypal integration -- dropped In reply to
To pick a number, perhaps at least a $5,000 a month minimum transaction volume, but more likely $15-20,000 monthly transaction volume.

Well of course ....if you were earning $20,000 a month and still using paypal I'd be slightly worried, however claiming that businesses earning less that x thousand dollars per month are not "true businesses" is slightly naive (and offensive).

For all you know I/Andy could be self-employed and $5000 a month is a decent income ($60,000/p.a) to live on and we would be paying income tax and all other necessary taxes...so that means we aren't real businesses? ...I certainly don't agree.

A sole trader with a tiny corner shop is a business just as Microsoft is, yet they earn billions more.

Fair enough, paypal may not be suitable for larger businesses but as you said you were speaking from personal experience, as were Andy and I.

Last edited by:

Paul: Apr 11, 2002, 4:57 AM
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Re: [Paul] paypal integration -- dropped In reply to
Perhaps you are right, but I also said any individual looking to grow, was a business too.

PayPal was originally targeted at individuals, as a means of paying for auctions. Just like eBay was developed to sell Pez dispensors and Beanie Babies grew it into a major empire the way the Gulf War built CNN (ie: timing).

A shopping cart, advertising sales, or even memberships, are "business" ventures, and should be looked at as such.

If you want to use paypal to pick up a few extra dollars here and there, that's fine, but that is not what anything I've been working on is designed to do. It's a bit higher ended than that.

As I said, also, PayPal has it's most effect in the auction circles, on eBay, and it loses it greatly in the business circles.

The one caveat is that I do not mind the paypal logo on "artist" type sites, where I'm buying crafted or hand made items direct from the artist in a non-production sort of way. But, if the artist is selling a commercial line of items, trying to hit a larger mass market, I do find the paypal logo to be somewhat problematic to their credibility.

Same way as I will almost never buy anything from any "free" host site, or any site that pops up advertising banners, and I certainly won't ever vist them again. No crediblity.

These are all "red flags" to potential fraud problems.

If you are selling something, and have to use pop up banners to pay for your site, there is a problem.

If you are a business, and can't afford $10/year for a domain name -- no matter how lame -- and $10/month for hosting at a low-end host, there is a problem. "Business" hosting can be had for as little as $35/month, and if you can't cover that in your "business" you should be out of business.

What other industry could you even attempt to have a "store front" and not pay $35 a month? Even a flea market charges that for a table, sometimes much more for 6 hours!

I needed to define my terms, and that will always offend someone.

I've had problems with PayPal, such as refunds, non-honoring of the "guarantee" and such. I can't run a business like that. As I said, we have never lost a chargeback with MC/Visa. We've had to argue with them, sometimes for months, but we've never Lost, and they have never simply ignored us, or taken money without warning and following a clearly defined set of rules for arbitration.

They also don't care about "tracking packages on-line" meaning the USPS insurance is sufficient for them. It's not for paypal. Paypal wants a tracking number, but tracking numbers only mean the post office got it -- not the carrier handed it to you, or even left it at the right location, or that someone didn't take it after they did. So, you have to buy insurance on top of it. "tracking" is USELESS. $50 insurace is a much better investment. You will at least get your money back. The USPS is still a governmental agency, even though they say they are not (USPS.gov), so try to defaud them on an insurance claim. A buddy of mine found out just how well paypal can play games with the "guarantee". His only bad eBay transaction was through PayPal, and was supposedly covered on the guarantee. His regular charge card processor would have honored it, and gone after the recipient.

Anyway, we sell mostly tangible products, so when a problem happens, we are OUT a lot of money. We don't like problems, and paypal has created problems. Our own merchant account, is 0.5 to 1.5 percent less, and we have less problems.

ALWAYS insure packages you mail out. Send POST OFFICE when possible (arguing with UPS is almost pointless to try to get any insurance payment on any damages. I have loads of damaged goods UPS would not make good on, they always claim the packaging wasn't up to their standards. Try to argue that. But how you can crack a wood-frame poster shipping crate, that was protecting a single poster, and claim the packaging was at fault is beyond me.).

These are my _OPINIONS_ and anything I refer to can be considered anecdotal, to be believed or not. But, I'm not building PayPal support into my programs any longer, and I'm not developing the paypal module I mentioned.

Remember, unless you have a direct account, you are going through an intermediary, and the intermediary really doesn't care about you. It's THEIR account they worry about. They have the account with the credit card processor, you have an account with THEM. This isn't saying that the charge card processor cares about your account any more, it's just that their agreement is with YOU, so they have to deal directly with you, and follow the fair credit and banking laws with YOU.

And, finally, as bad as the post office is, or was, or is joked about, they do deliver most priority mail packages without damage, very quickly, and they have always made good on insurance claims, even when they _could_ have tried to argue them, and certainly when they couldn't.

PUGDOG� Enterprises, Inc.

The best way to contact me is to NOT use Email.
Please leave a PM here.
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Re: [A.J.] paypal integration -- dropped In reply to
DO any of you guys know of one of these third party card processors that will deal in CDN dollars... I talked to the Paypal people and they are not interested at this time! Its not that I don't like dealing in USD, its that I run a Canadian Search Engine, and I think it looks bad dealing in another currency. I know USD is the accepted currency, and most on-line stuff is geared for it... but, someone must support the Canadian currency.

After reading all your posts in this area, I am once again wondering just what my payment solution is going to be suitable, especially while starting out with a low volume. Putting up a huge bond just to be able to process a credit card without the client present is what the Canadian Banks seem to be wanting anyways.... this is not an option for me right now...

What if all of Gossamer's clients came up with there own credit card processing system! (dreaming)Wink
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Re: [sooke] paypal integration -- dropped In reply to
There must be charge card processors based in canada, it is a civilized country <G>

might want to start here... again, no endorsement, I just did a search, and this was the top hit:


(read all the way to the end, or start on page 3)

PUGDOG� Enterprises, Inc.

The best way to contact me is to NOT use Email.
Please leave a PM here.