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Ecommerce Forum

recommend a sweet micropayment gateway
a question asked a million times

 3:03 pm on May 7, 2007 (gmt 0)

I know this question gets asked a million times a week... sorry

I'm setting up a site which lets users buy little "shares" worth $1 each. They may buy many at once, but I'll probably see a lot of $1 transactions

what would you recommend as a payment vehicle? I've already got a PayPal account, so I was thinking of using that, if there are better ones, lay some suggestions down.

btw I am a Canadian non-business, so I'm not eligible for Google Checkout yet



 7:51 am on May 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

Paypal micropayments?

Corey Bryant

 11:05 am on May 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

PayPal micropayments pricing is designed for transactions under $2.00 USD. The fees are 5%+ $0.05 USDper transaction. Micropayments are currently available to merchants with Verified Business/Premier accounts who receive U.S. to U.S. transactions, U.K. to U.K. transactions or EU to EU transactions. Merchants can learn more about micropayments pricing by contacting micropayments@paypal.com.
Being in Canada, you are somewhat limited of course but you might be able to get an authorization rate around $.25 and then the electronic gateway is still going to probably charge you a transaction fee as well.

You might consider trying to make it so if they buy at least 5, they get something, maybe an extra one.



 3:26 pm on May 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

Agree with Corey. That's the way most merchants are handling it.


 5:36 pm on May 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

maybe I'll try to upsell them with a T-shirt. "Hey, I know you only wanted to buy this one share for $1, but because e-commerce sucks, you have to buy this shirt with it. Total: $15.99"

This is a day when I agree with all those people who say the Internet sucks and e-commerce is for losers. Especially in Canada.



 5:41 pm on May 8, 2007 (gmt 0)

e-commerce is for losers

If so, this loser is singing (Beck's "Loser") all the way to the bank.


 2:21 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

So, the dream of a micropayment gateway (a dream unfulfilled in the 15+ years e-commerce has existed) is still a dream. So - what would it take to make it a reality?

1) a central service that accepts real money in aggregate transations, and lets you spend micro-portions of it, with infinitesimal transaction fees
2) outstanding popularity of said service across many sites (saturation)
3) probably some financial backing or underwriting by a bank or insurance co
4) actual and perceived security of $ info when using this service

Yes LifeInAsia I know traditional e-commerce isn't really for losers. The losers are people like me who dream up new business ideas and wish that integral ingredients had already been set up by other companies.

Anyone interested in underwriting a new venture: "httpmicrobank inc"?


 3:21 pm on May 9, 2007 (gmt 0)

My old company has a micropayment scheme ready: it's simply a matter of getting a critical mass together to make it as efficient as possible...




 8:16 am on May 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

a question asked a million times

I have told you a hundred million times not to exaggerate! :)


 8:43 am on May 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

I think the only way micropayment will ever work is if banks change their fee structure to entirely percentage based. e.g. 3.5% of every card transaction and 2% of every direct debit transaction, whether the transaction is for $0.50 or for $500.


 10:46 am on May 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

One way micropayments can/do work is by aggregation into larger payments as suggested above, and/or by avoiding processing the (individual) transactions through the general-purpose banking networks which have too many participants (and the ability to handle huge transaction values) to eliminate the 'floor' charges and costs easily.

Note also that VISA/MC in the UK at least are in the process of launching their sub-10-transaction proximity cards. I feel uncomfortable with the security implications, but the financial implications are clear: they are making smaller payments possible.




 3:45 pm on May 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

perhaps there is hope - could the www piggyback on the existing system that allows you to spend $ from a phone card? Long-distance phone cards are ubiquitous, and they use the pay-first-spend-later model already described...

As a user would you be willing to pop $0.10 off your Long-distance phone card to view today's headlines from your favourite news source? or play a game of multiplayer online scrabble?

But what about those people who don't use those cards (like me). I'd love to see a simple online pettycash repository. Actually there are a couple of startups doing that now, but they look shady and there are hardly any places online where you can spend their tokens


 3:54 pm on May 10, 2007 (gmt 0)

Best rule of thumb in business and as a consumer is DO NOT ACCEPT A MADE-UP CURRENCY because it simply isn't a currency and is unlikely to work well. What is more likely to work is a group of merchants and consumer 'cash' holders agreeing to do micropayments amongst one another in a real currency, avoiding the main banking network except to get money in and out of the system as a whole.

As I say, my old company can do various parts of what has been discussed above, and using a variety of real-world currencies furthermore.

This is NOT meant to be an extended advert, and has somewhat strayed from the original question though my old company COULD do some of the things requested right now in USD and GBP at least...

The point: some of this stuff is out there already in one form or another.



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