Paypal may be one of the most commonly known money-transfer services but it's not the only one. We've rounded up 9 alternatives that might suit your needs better.
PayPal makes its money on fees for playing the role of internet transaction middleman. Along the way to becoming the most popular service of its kind, PayPal has also made quite a few merchants unhappy.
One of those is Notch, a game developer whose account of about a million dollars PayPal froze for suspicious activity. That is an extreme example - because most PayPal accounts aren't so flush with cash - but it suggests an institutional high-handedness that has upset many sellers. Here's a breakdown of how key alternatives to PayPal work for business customers.
Google created Google Checkout to compete with PayPal and to offer users a superior platform for conducting transactions online. For processing your sales, it charges you 1.9 percent plus 30 cents (18p) per transaction, depending on your monthly sales volume, without monthly setup or gateway fees, and with no fees for buyers.
Pros: Google is no fly-by-night internet startup, so you can deal with Checkout with confidence. Google also provides solid customer support - albeit through email only.
Cons: Some people fear that Google is a global Big Brother with access to too much information already. Sharing financial accounts and transaction details with the company would be another log on the fire for such critics.
Amazon is the largest online retail site, and it has expanded to include trusted third-party merchants, so it makes sense that the company should have a means of transacting cash. Customers who shop using Amazon Payments (its only available in the US currently) can complete purchases using the shipping and payment details stored in their Amazon accounts. Businesses can provide a simple means of payment without forcing users to leave the site to log in elsewhere.
For sellers, fees are assessed on a per-transaction basis; they vary by purchase amount and volume. The base fees are 2.9 percent plus a 30 cent (18p) fee for each transaction of $10 (£6.30) or more, and five percent plus a five cent (3p) fee for each transaction under $10 (£6.30).
Pros: You can use the service without sharing your payment information and without having to re-enter shipping details, simply by using the details stored in your Amazon account. Purchases are protected by Amazon's A-to-Z Guarantee, which ensures the condition and timely delivery of the products bought.
Cons: The service has limited implementation outside of Amazon.com. It is nowhere near as widespread as PayPal.
Revolution Money Exchange
RevolutionMoneyExchange is a newer player in online finance, launched by America Online founder Steve Case. The service, which only extends to the US at the moment, doesn't have the brand recognition of Google or Amazon, but it allows users to make online purchases, transfer funds, and make payments to and from each other with no fees. Even businesses can request and accept RevolutionMoneyExchange payments without paying fees.
Pros: No fees except in certain situations such as stop payments or overdrafts. Good account security. Accepted as a method of payment by a number of reputable companies such as Walgreens.
Cons: You can't send or receive more than $1000 (£633) per day or more than $2500 (£1,500) in a calendar month.
NEXT PAGE: MoneyBookers