[nycbug-talk] Internet billing

michael lists
Wed Mar 31 12:39:09 EST 2004

On Wed, 17 Mar 2004 19:28:25 +0000 (GMT)
Francisco Reyes <lists at natserv.com> wrote:

> Got two interesting prospects from the FreeBSD-ISP list.
> http://payquake.com
> http://www.paysystems.com

I've been revisiting this lately.  

If I wanted to sell something online (a widget, a recurring charge
subscription service, or whatever) I *could* just go to Visa, MC, AMEX
and apply for a merchant number.  I would then have to create and
maintain all these relationships.   Not a big deal.  Businesses have
been doing this in droves for decades.

I first looked to contrast PayPal to accepting charge cards.

PayPal requires buyers to register.. a big deal if your market is not
mostly techies.   I think that PayPal processes in an omnibus account
and requires you to go get your money and move it to your checking
account. I think that PayPal takes the customer off site to do the
transaction. While I may disagree: the perception that I have personally
heard among non-techies is that using PayPal is 'small-time' and does
not make a business look polished.

But, hey, PayPal is easy and I like them.  This is what they do for a
living.  Many people already have an account and are familiar with the

Now on to payment services...

The value-add for payment services is the "one-stop-shop" solution.
- they set up with all the credit cards
- they process the charges
- they deposit the money in your checking
- they keep the card numbers on their servers
- they offer other value add services like recurring charges
- they offer prepared statements, etc
- they take a substantial percent of sales as a fee

That is *IF* they will do business with you at all.  

They all require an introductory application before they will even
answer questions.  They want to do a risk assessment.  While this is
reasonable, I got the idea that business is not full of cheer in that

I'll use one of the firms Francisco Reyes found (above)  as the example.
I called them up yesterday to ask a few general questions about their
service. To wit: I never got any answers. The salesman barely engaged
me, admitting to doing something else while on my call.  Armed only with
my first name, he spoke voluminously about risk, then matter-of-factly
doubled the prices listed on the web site. Then and ONLY THEN did he
asked me what I wanted to sell. I was floored, this was appauling
service. I said I just had a few simple questions about his service. He
wouldn't answer them, saying it would be a waste of everyone's time
until I filled out a application. I, too, wanted to end this phone call
so, I agreed.  Before he shuffled me off the phone he asked for my email
address so he could send me an app. Three hours later I got an email
stating they would not do business with us and recommended 2 other
firms.  I didn't even fill out the app yet... oh well.  Dazed, confused,
and with a little laugh; I scratch them off my list.

Another vendor I'm looking at: http://www.trustcommerce.com/.  I found
them by looking at OS Commerce.  They are well regarded.. so I
checked what they use. http://www.oscommerce.com/about/gateways

Has anyone else been down this road before?


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