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#458802 - 01/31/01 08:07 PM PayPal & C2it: Answer to our online sales prayers?
Jeff Zugale Offline
Member

Registered: 12/06/98
Posts: 1806
Loc: Los Angeles, CA, USA
I was just checking out PayPal (maybe I'm a bit behind on these things) because both my Citibank credit card statements came advertising a new service from Citi called "C2it," where you can email money to people. It sounded like what I heard PayPal does, except C2it is being offered by one of the biggest banks in the world.

The two services are not identical, but they're based on the same idea (and probably technology too). PayPal's been around a while, and it essentially allows you to email money to anyone (even if they're not yet on PayPal, sending them money prompts them to sign up), with no credit card numbers or other insecure stuff changing hands. The transaction takes place on PayPal's server, transferring from one PayPal "account" (connected to your credit card or bank account) to another. It's a very cool idea and has been running "in the background" for a while. Apparently it's a big deal on eBay, which may have brought the notice of Citi and proven it as a safe, workable transaction method.

Now, Citi is offering this service on a MUCH wider scale, which may finally help SOLVE one of the biggest problems online commerce has faced so far: the real pain-in-the-ass of actually exchanging money, facilitating the customer's easy purchase.

An old-school credit card merchant account is expensive and a real drag to use, and people REALLY have to like your stuff to go thru the whole rigamarole of snail-mailing you a check. If this thing catches on in the general public - and I think it will, if the big banks are trying it -- then that problem is GONE.

Citi is being cautious with it, essentially only offering the same services as PayPal's "Personal" account level, and attaching restrictions on dollar amounts. However, PayPal has MUCH wider options, including a FANTASTIC "Business" account! ANYONE can sign up for it (over 18 with a checking account anyway). YOU could have the ability to take DIRECT payments from your customers ON YOUR WEBSITE with NO setup charge, NO monthly fee, and only a max of 2.2% service charge on each transaction -- TODAY!!

You read that right. Essentially a FREE full-service merchant server on your site, with no upfront costs. The money is transferred into your PayPal account INSTANTLY - then you transfer it to your bank account at your convenience. NO WAITING. You can have the payment and ship out your customer's order TODAY.

Now I know, some of you are going to go, "Oh, that will never work, it can't be safe, yada yada..."

Look. If frickin' CITIBANK is getting behind it -- in fact, the Citi division Travelers' Insurance protects all PayPal accounts up to $100,000 -- then IT'S SAFE and IT'S A GOOD THING. It takes 5 minutes or less to sign up.

I'm not trying to be a shill for Citi or anything, either. We've all blathered about what a pain it is to do sales over the web. This is the first really workable, fast, inexpensive, effective way to do web transactions that I've seen yet, that's all. Please, take a look. This could be the future of your self-publishing living. Some quick points that jump into mind:

* The service works both ways. If you have a customer that wants to return something or is unhappy, YOU CAN GIVE THEM A MONEYBACK GUARANTEE, since you can just email them their money back.

* This COULD eventually be a workable way to process "micropayments": you could easily work out a way to actually CHARGE PEOPLE TO VIEW STUFF ON YOUR SITE, a penny a page or something. Right now you can't do that, since the fee for a transaction smaller than $15 is 30 cents, but if enough people use this, the economy of scale could work out so even tiny transactions are feasible.

I should think that it would be easy to expand this so that every financial institution on the existing Automated Clearinghouse Service -- that's pretty much every bank on the planet, kids -- is on the network, and would publish an email address to which to send payments, like "payment@greatbigbank.com". Any company that collects bills of any kind could do the same: "payments@thephonecompany.com, remit@utilitymonopoly.com, giveusallyourmoney@irs.gov!"

Anyway, this could really help us little dudes trying to sell our stuff online and not sell out to big evil corporations. [img]/resources/ubb/smile.gif[/img]

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Jeff Zugale
Pagan City Comics
www.pagancity.com
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Jeff Zugale www.jeffzugale.com/
My "Just A Bit Off..." webcomic

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#458803 - 02/02/01 12:42 AM Re: PayPal & C2it: Answer to our online sales prayers?
Ben Adams Offline
Member

Registered: 12/24/98
Posts: 483
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
Jeff --

I just checked out www.c2it.com. The service is very similar to the personal (as opposed to Business) Paypal accounts and also to two services you may not have heard of -- Billpoint from eBay ( www.billpoint.com ) and PayDirect from Yahoo ( http://paydirect.yahoo.com ).

From what I can see, "Paypal Personal", c2it, and PayDirect are all pretty much the same thing -- they all have no minimum payments, no fees, and aren't set up with Instant Purchase buttons or shopping carts. Billpoint, on the other hand, charges 35 cents a transaction.

The Paypal business account costs 30 cents plus 2.9% of the transaction amount per transaction (with no minimum transaction). It allows you to set up Instant Purchase buttons for individual items but doesn't come with a shopping cart system.

Mal's E-Commerce ( www.mals-e.com ) offers a free (and popular) remotely hosted shopping cart system that integrates very well with Paypal. (After you check out, you either enter the info on your existing Paypal account or sign up for one by credit card.) As you may have noticed, I now use this system on my online ordering page. (It's about as easy to setup as a CCNow system and doesn't cost as much.)

A few notes on Paypal: It's got major backing from the Wall Street's Goldman Sachs Group, Nokia (the big cell phone maker), and Deutsche Bank AG of Germany, and a number of Stanford professors are on its advisory board. Given that and given that it's already the most popular payment method in eBay, I think people are already going to have a pretty high comfort level with the process. I'm sure the advent of c2it, Billpoint, and PayDirect will continue to legitimize the whole concept, but I wouldn't trumpet c2it as a HUGE leap forward.

I agree with you totally, though, that this is the wave of the future.

As you may recall, I brought up the Mal's E-Commerce shopping cart on this board quite a while ago. (It took me a while to set it up just because I had other priorities to attend to.) It's a very nice system, and it makes it very easy for anyone to set up an online storefront that processes credit cards.

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Ben Adams
Read PRISONOPOLIS online and learn about the celling of America at www.mediawarpcomics.com .


[This message has been edited by Ben Adams (edited 02-02-2001).]
_________________________
Ben Adams has led an interesting life. He writes about it in his blog and in his autobiographical webcomic, MISFIT\'S JOURNEY .

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#458804 - 02/02/01 01:21 AM Re: PayPal & C2it: Answer to our online sales prayers?
savage Offline
Member

Registered: 11/24/98
Posts: 1007
Loc: Minneapolis,MN USA
ccNow didn't cost anything to set up. Are you talking service fees?
_________________________
Justin Savage
President/Editor/Web-bozo
www.sabresedge.com

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#458805 - 02/02/01 02:05 AM Re: PayPal & C2it: Answer to our online sales prayers?
Ben Adams Offline
Member

Registered: 12/24/98
Posts: 483
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
Yep. I'm talkin' service fees. Check this out:
http://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=p/gen/fees-outside

(Note the comparison with CCNow near the bottom.)
_________________________
Ben Adams has led an interesting life. He writes about it in his blog and in his autobiographical webcomic, MISFIT\'S JOURNEY .

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#458806 - 02/02/01 02:45 AM Re: PayPal & C2it: Answer to our online sales prayers?
savage Offline
Member

Registered: 11/24/98
Posts: 1007
Loc: Minneapolis,MN USA
according to that chart if you sell anything for less than three dollars ccnow is cheaper. Plus they run the cart system. I think I'll stay where I am and avoid the hassle. Frankly saving a dime on a sale and having to mess with the cart system just doesn't make me grin. When you compare it to diamond you still make a fortune on a sale by comparison... [img]/resources/ubb/wink.gif[/img]

I do have a personal paypal account though. Since ccnow won't do services, I use it for custom art sales and stuff.

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Justin Savage
President/Editor/Web-bozo
www.sabresedge.com
_________________________
Justin Savage
President/Editor/Web-bozo
www.sabresedge.com

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#458807 - 02/02/01 03:10 AM Re: PayPal & C2it: Answer to our online sales prayers?
Ben Adams Offline
Member

Registered: 12/24/98
Posts: 483
Loc: Minneapolis, MN
Quote:
according to that chart if you sell anything for less than three dollars ccnow is cheaper. Plus they run the cart system. I think I'll stay where I am and avoid the hassle.


Fair enough. If you were running a online storefront with lots of titles, or selling dozens of pages of original art, the savings would obviously make a difference though.

The cart's really no more difficult to set up than CCNow. (At least, I didn't think so.)
_________________________
Ben Adams has led an interesting life. He writes about it in his blog and in his autobiographical webcomic, MISFIT\'S JOURNEY .

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#458808 - 02/02/01 06:48 AM Re: PayPal & C2it: Answer to our online sales prayers?
jack Offline
Member

Registered: 11/11/99
Posts: 12596
Loc: Just south of NYC
As a "merchant" these services are redundant, since they serve the purpose of the merchant VISA/MC.

Plus they aren't "free". SOMEONE has to pay for each transaction. For paypal, the WHOLE focus is to get the merchant to join, which is why it's "free" for the buyer. Problem is, why would a merchant who has a visa/mc machine in the store pay to have the service duplicated?

I dont use paypal/billpoint with ebay transactions and don't accept any of the other online services for payment.

If you are going to do nay volume at all online the cheapest is to simply buy your own visa machine (about 375 with a printer) through your bank and wa-la!

[This message has been edited by jack (edited 02-02-2001).]

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#458809 - 02/02/01 07:32 AM Re: PayPal & C2it: Answer to our online sales prayers?
Rick Veitch Administrator Offline
Member

Registered: 11/23/98
Posts: 3531
Loc: Vermont, USA
I've been using Paypal for both my booth sales and for Comicon.com exhibitor fees for about a year. I think the service is GREAT and recommend it to everyone buying or selling on the web.

Couple points not covered above: I think Paypal makes money on the "float". In other words, they collect interest on the funds that sit in our accounts. Also: Paypal just initiated the International Service, which allows customers in many (not all) parts of the world outside the USA to send money. Most of the credit card schemes don't allow that.

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Rick Veitch
Invites You To Read THE DAILY RARE BIT FIENDS
updated every day along with news of the world's most popular artform!
THE COMICON.COM DAILY SPLASHis always refreshing!
www.comicon.com/splash
_________________________
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#458810 - 02/02/01 10:09 AM Re: PayPal & C2it: Answer to our online sales prayers?
Glenn Barbis Jr Offline
Member

Registered: 01/09/99
Posts: 765
Loc: Nowhere, Pa.
Rick is correct in that PayPal makes its' money off the interest. I'v been using PayPal since it started, and have never had a problem.

As for the areas that PayPal doesn't accept, I usually steer those customers to BidPay, where they can mail a Western Union money order. BidPay notifies you that payment is made, and the check is sent, and you can mail off the item right away, as it is guaranteed through them you get your money.

If for some reason you don't get it, BidPay is very helpful in making sure you are covered. I had one check that didn't make it (due to my mail it turned out) and BidPay issued me another right away. I recieved the first one later, and sent it back to them unopened, and they even sent me a nice email thanking me for being honest about it.

I wasn't too crazy about the PayPal "business" set-up when it started, but it really is a better deal than many of the other same services.

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"That's just my opinion, I could be wrong." - Dennis Miller
_________________________
comicsGB@MySpace

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#458811 - 02/02/01 12:13 PM Re: PayPal & C2it: Answer to our online sales prayers?
RavenProject Offline
Member

Registered: 02/08/00
Posts: 84
Loc: Carol Stream, IL USA
Actually, I've been running face-first into some of PayPal's changes as I sell off a huge chunk of my comic collection on eBay.

Specifically, for those with a mere Personal account, there is a limit on how much money you can receive from credit cards -- $100 per month. If you want to accept more than that, then you have to upgrade to a Premier account. But if you do that, they take a bite out of *every* transaction you do.

I was 100% sold on PayPal before I learned of those fees. Now, all of a sudden, I'm not so sure...

Then again, I'm just a private guy selling off his own personal stash. I'm just looking to pay for a couple new computers, not make a living. [img]/resources/ubb/wink.gif[/img]

-J
(aluminumshrine)

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