Is Amazon WebPay truly a free money transfer solution?
October 22, 2009 10:00 AM   Subscribe

Is Amazon WebPay truly a free money transfer solution, or are there hidden costs I'm not seeing?

In looking at the FAQ for Amazon WebPay (can be found here), it essentially says that there is no fee to send/receive money and transfer it to your bank account. It seems too good to be true, especially with Paypal ruling the online payment world.

What's your experience?
posted by drkrdglo to Work & Money (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
There is no fee to pay, and no fee to withdraw, but I'm pretty sure there is a per-transaction fee to receive money. The fees are listed here.
posted by helios at 10:08 AM on October 22, 2009

Erm, I don't know... the page makes it sound like there are no fees at all for personal accounts, since the fees are all listed under "business accounts, generally".
Personal Account

Personal Accounts may receive up to $500 per month. The receiving limit may be raised or removed entirely once a credit card and verified bank account have been registered in the account.

Personal Accounts may send up to $500 per month once a credit card or verified bank account is registered in the account. Once both are registered, the sending limit may be raised or removed entirely.

Personal Accounts may withdraw funds to verified bank accounts. Also, Personal Accounts may purchase gift certificates. Please see Adding New Payment Methods for details on verifying your bank account.
This doesn't specifically exclude the potential of fees but...
posted by disillusioned at 10:16 AM on October 22, 2009

Also, check with your bank, they might charge you for transfers to or from the Amazon Webpay thing?
posted by Grither at 10:18 AM on October 22, 2009

since the fees are all listed under "business accounts, generally".

Actually they aren't; the first section is "Checkout by Amazon and Amazon Simple Pay" and the second section is "Business Accounts Generally". To confirm, you can scroll to the top and click on the headers. The fee for the first section is 2.9% + 0.30

I think the text you are quoting is simply referring to receiving limits rather than fees.

However, after all this has been said, I really am not sure what the fees are; the documentation is not well-written.
posted by helios at 10:55 AM on October 22, 2009

Incidentally, this is also buried in the user agreement:
Personal Accounts may not receive credit card payments.
Given that, the fees actually seem pretty ridiculous. They are charging credit card transaction rates for a bank account transfer which has a much lower cost to them.
posted by smackfu at 11:06 AM on October 22, 2009

Best answer: But this is neither "Checkout by Amazon" nor "Amazon Simple Pay" which are business services. It is Amazon WebPay, which is a personal service. It seems to me that it is free. If you doubt this and find the language ambiguous, then the only surefire way are free is to e-mail Amazon and ask.

Why? Probably as a loss leader. Remember that PayPal was free too, when it first started. In fact, if it was better than free—when I joined in 2000, they gave me $5 for joining and $5 for each person I referred to join. For PayPal, personal services was a great way to get started and lots of people using the system, and that drove the popularity of their profitable merchant services.
posted by grouse at 12:38 PM on October 22, 2009 [1 favorite]

only surefire way are free is to e-mail Amazon and ask.

I asked Amazon this question and they did an awesome job of not answering.
Me: Does WebPay have fees to receive money or not? The fee schedule linked from the registration agreement only has sections for "Amazon Payments Fees--Checkout by Amazon and Amazon Simple Pay" and "Amazon Payments Fees--Business Accounts Generally" and nothing obvious that applies to WebPay. Seems strange to have a legal agreement be ambiguous like that.

Amazon: I'm sorry for any difficulties you are experiencing with locating information about Web Pay. We do not charge our customers a fee for sending money using Amazon Web Pay. You can send money to any recipient with an email address, mobile phone number, or alias. If the recipient does not currently have an Amazon Payments Account, all they will need to do is set one up to receive the funds.
Notice the switch from "receive" in the question to "send" in the answer, which I think is their scam. Just repeat "no fee to send money" over and over until people think the whole service is free.
posted by smackfu at 8:12 AM on October 25, 2009

New answer from Amazon after I complained about the prior one:
It is free to receive money in your Amazon Payments account. Whether you are sending or receiving the money there is no charge for the transactions.
posted by smackfu at 7:00 AM on October 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I sent than an e-mail too, and this was their response:
There is no fee to send or receive money with Amazon Payments. These are free transactions and they will not cost you anything. There is no fee associated with accepting money that has been sent to you.
posted by grouse at 7:31 AM on October 26, 2009 [1 favorite]

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