Is Paypal's "Website Payments Standard" merchant account program any good?
June 4, 2007 7:27 AM   Subscribe

Anyone have experiences good/bad as a merchant with Paypal's "Website Payments Standard" merchant account program?

Currently paying $50/mo. Paypal's program seems a lot cheaper. They promise:

* No monthly fees
* No set-up fees
* No cancellation fees
* Transaction Fees of 1.9% to 2.9% + $0.30 USD

Is this too good to be true?
posted by ZenMasterThis to Work & Money (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would never trust my business to Paypal.
posted by grouse at 7:29 AM on June 4, 2007

We (my partner and I) used it for a while. No major problems, but conversely customer service was hard to come by. Also, the onus is on you to prove that the product was delivered, so if you're sending something expensive, use some form of tracking.

The main concern with Paypal seems to be that they can freeze your account on a whim and not send you money owed. I've also heard concerns that they can just dip into your linked account in take out what they want in the case of a chargeback, but I don't know how well-founded that is. Neither happened to us.

Before we stopped selling stuff via mail, we were looking into getting a merchant account, mostly because the PayPal API gets in the way of the user experience. For instance, it made it tough to calculate and assign shipping charges based on the destination.
posted by L. Fitzgerald Sjoberg at 7:52 AM on June 4, 2007

It's basic, some other sites offer more services/functions - but as you mention you have to pay. But the best thing I like about the payments standard is that it is free to use.
I'll buy that for a dollar.

Unlike others I've never had problems with them. I look after client websites which also uses Paypal and again none of them have had problems. So it's a nod for them from here.
posted by Webbster at 8:06 AM on June 4, 2007

They are decent enough, until something goes wrong. Then they are dicks and really hard to get solid customer support from.

However, depending on your margins and especially on how often you need to accept credit cards they might still be the best bet. If you get screwed once or twice, but it allows you to afford to accept the few credit orders you get, it can still be worth it, and it is a crapshoot if you'll get screwed anyways.

A good possible use is to start with it to gauge how much money is generated by it vs the cost of getting a real merchant account, so you can see if its worth taking the plunge to the big leagues.
posted by teishu at 8:58 AM on June 4, 2007

I've been using PayPal's website payments for as long as they've been offering them. The one time I had a problem, I was able to get someone on the phone fairly easily, and the problem was solved within a day. Merchant accounts are really expensive and were unrealistic for us.
posted by astruc at 9:46 AM on June 4, 2007

I haven't had a problem, thus far (and now I have just jinxed myself). I am using PayPal for an online conference registration program for one of my not-for-profits. There's no tangible shipped item, so there's no problem as far as that is. I'm using Website Payments Standard, too.

If you want to check out the interface, see our site. I claim no ownership in design or interface.
posted by MeetMegan at 10:50 AM on June 4, 2007

PayPal are moderately dodgy if you're using them to make a living; they can and do close accounts without warning or reason, and will happily completely ignore you when you try to sort anything out.

If you can live with it going away and losing any money you had in the account at any time, don't mind useless customer support and regular breakages of the backend systems you depend on, then go for it. Keep a backup plan on hand, and keep the account well drained.

Note if you're not shipping actual items, you're basically screwed with any chargebacks or reversals; PayPal will side with the buyer every time. If it happens a lot ("a lot" to be determined by them), bye bye account.

"You see Mr Griffin what sets us apart from other banks is that other banks are banks"
posted by Freaky at 11:04 AM on June 4, 2007

They also have some random and arbirtrary inabilities to accept some credit cards.

As in, we'd hit an arbitrary limit with some clients (usually 2-3K) and not be able ot charge their card further. Some cards just wouldn't work. Some would work, but you'd need an exact address, etc etc etc and any weird capital letter out of place would throw it off.

We ended up switching to Quickbooks merchant services.
posted by mazienh at 6:07 PM on June 4, 2007

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