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Money Buzz 11/05

Controlling online payments, expensive medical plans and more
November 1, 2005
URL: http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/80640

Credit Control
Looking for a simple and smooth solution to accepting online payments? Geared toward small and midsize businesses, PayPal's new Website Payments Pro may have the solution. Through three functions--PayPal Express Checkout, Direct Payment API, and Virtual Terminal--it lets you choose to accept up to three payment options: credit cards; payments by phone, fax or mail; or PayPal accounts.

Merchants can also include their own branding at every step of the process and direct buyers to continue shopping after transactions are completed. "When buyers choose to pay with a credit card, PayPal is invisible on the back end," notes PayPal's Sara Betten-court. "And if they pay with a PayPal account, they are directed to the PayPal site momentarily to log in and confirm payment, and then automatically redirected to the merchant website to complete checkout."

For smaller merchants, however, fees for Website Payments Pro may be prohibitive: $20 per month and a volume-dependent, per-transaction rate of 2.2 percent to 2.9 percent plus 30 cents. Pricing for standard PayPal account payment processing alone is 1.9 percent to 2.9 percent per transaction, with no monthly fees.

Investing in the credit card option may pay off over the long haul, though. Additional payment options translate to increased sales for online merchants, according to a study by CyberSource Corp., which suggests merchants can win 20 percent more customers by accepting four types of payment, rather than just one.

Jennifer Pellet is a New York City freelance writer specializing in business and finance.



Nearly 90%
of small businesses are paying more to provide basic medical insurance to their employees than they paid in 2004.
Statistic Source: Salary.com
14%
of small businesses offer employees significant incentives not to participate in the company's medical plan.
Statistic Source: Salary.com