Micropayment service?
December 15, 2008 6:25 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for a super-simple, low-cost system for micropayments for a website. My 8-year old daughter wants to set up a service where she asks users for a small payment, $1 or $0.50, money-back guarantee. This is a lark, so we don't want to invest a lot of money, and the money-back guarantee is crucial to the concept, and many users will probably test it. I'm old school -- is PayPal still a reasonable possibility? From my experience with credit cards 10 years ago, I'm guessing that their fees would make them impractical here. But I am very open to suggestion. My ISP is Network Solutions, basic cheap hosting account. Thanks!
posted by msalt to Computers & Internet (10 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
What is she selling/doing? If she is selling drawing, for example, it might be easier to go through etsy.com.
posted by k8t at 6:37 PM on December 15, 2008

What is she selling/doing? If she is selling drawing, for example, it might be easier to go through etsy.com

Why? You still need to checkout via PayPal, so that doesn't make the payment portion of the equation any easier.

I think the only options are PayPal and Google Checkout. You need to compare rates for transactions $1 and under; at one point, at least one of them did not charge fees for these.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:45 PM on December 15, 2008

I think this is the niche that TipJoy is trying to address.
posted by SemiSophos at 7:01 PM on December 15, 2008

As a part of Atlanta Startup weekend, we created http://www.twitpay.me

It's a simple service that is linked to twitter and allows you to do exactly what you mention...small payments.
posted by joshbb at 8:10 PM on December 15, 2008

Someone Paypal'd me $2 the other day, and the fee was 36 cents, for a net of $1.64.

So if she's okay getting $1.64 for every two dollars, Paypal will work.
posted by rokusan at 8:30 PM on December 15, 2008

Well concealed cash.
posted by low affect at 10:47 PM on December 15, 2008

FYI - I'm pretty sure the paypal fees vary depending on how you're paid, e.g. a credit card payment has higher fees, and there are no fees for a cash-based payment. Fee structures are also different for personal and business paypal accounts, and you may need a business account if you plan on accepting lots of payments.
posted by robinpME at 7:53 AM on December 16, 2008

Response by poster: Tipjoy looks good -- TOO good. Unless I'm missing something, you just enter a URL or email address, and THEY send the person twenty five cents? At their sole expense? And all you have to do is enter your email address?

Forgive me, but doesn't this sound like a scam? How do they make money? If it's real, this would be PERFECT.
posted by msalt at 11:40 AM on December 16, 2008

msalt: This page may be of help: http://tipjoy.com/faq/11/
posted by qvtqht at 1:03 PM on December 16, 2008

Best answer: TipJoy acts kind of like a meta-paypal. They act as a quick and easy way to pledge support for a site, which you then settle via Paypal payments, etc.

Since this allows you to batch transactions, you minimize the overhead that PayPal takes out, making it ideal for micropayments.

Furthermore, once in Tipjoy's system, you can shuffle cash around without incurring additional over head (it's only deducted when you actually withdraw the cash from TipJoy).
posted by SemiSophos at 5:47 PM on December 16, 2008

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