Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login
How Braintree destroyed a successful taxi startup from Serbia (facebook.com)
308 points by bressian 189 days ago | hide | past | web | 142 comments | favorite

We put a new ecommerce site live on Magento2. We were short on time, so to make everything go more smoothly we chose to move our payments to Braintree as they have an pre integrated checkout with Magento2. Of all the things I thought I would be sitting up all night sorting out, I really didn't expect it to be Braintree, but it was. I'm sorry if this sounds harsh to Americans, but the fact it was thanksgiving did not interest me in the slightest, as we are at work that day, and so are our banks. If you want to sell your service in the UK you should be available 9-5 UK time. Braintree's 11 am opening time, was the most infuriating thing when I could see customers failing at the checkout. Other US companies I speak to have operators on from 9am our time, even if it is 3am over there. We already have a high volume Paypal acocunt, and I had to call everyone I could to pull strings to get them to answer at Braintree. Turns out the account I set up with them some weeks before had not been pushed live, except they told me it had, so we only had the introductory level of payments.

Their integration with Magento sucks too...Set up all of the anti-fraud tools and you will barely get a payment to go through...

> I'm sorry if this sounds harsh to Americans, but the fact it was thanksgiving did not interest me in the slightest, as we are at work that day, and so are our banks. If you want to sell your service in the UK you should be available 9-5 UK time

What does Braintree's SLA look like? Are these service levels something a UK customer ought to expect having enrolled for an account with Braintree?

How is the SLA relevant? I mean, GP is not blaming Braintree for breach of contract, they're blaming Braintree for shitty service.

The SLA is 100% relevant. If Braintree had an SLA that stated (hopefully clearly) that they would only be offering support during US hours then there'd be little standing to complain from a contractual standpoint.

No doubt this would be a questionable business practice on Braintree's part if true, but clarity around expectations from each party is pretty fundamental to the question at hand.

Bingo. It's not what you think you're going to get or what you want to get, it's what they said they're going to give you.

If the SLA says they're available from M-F 9am-5pm NYC time then you're SOL if you're expecting them to be around on Saturday morning.

EDIT: For the non-native speakers, SOL = Shit Outta Luck

For context, I didn't just stray onto the US Braintree site expecting UK service. I was sold to by our Paypal rep from Ireland. Braintree have a specific UK service.

" What are your support hours? For European merchants our email and phone support is available from 11am to 11pm GMT, Monday through Friday.

Of course, we offer emergency support via email 24x7x365, and have support reps and engineers on-call at all times."

I had to get my Paypal rep to get some people high up at Paypal Europe to contact Braintree to get my emergency service.

This seems more like promotional material than something to rely upon. Did your contract promise time to response, with or without carve-out for US business hours? "Emergency" and "email" are not terms that frequently dwell in intimate proximity.

It's not my intent to apologize for Braintree, about whom I know virtually nothing.

The post rambles for a long time and slings some mud against braintree. Their claim is that they couldn't do a wire transfer from their merchant account to their business account. Looking on braintree's website they don't appear to support Serbia. https://www.braintreepayments.com/en-si/country-selection?re...

Doesn't it make you wonder how they got a merchant/business account then in the first place? Because if Braintree doesn't support Serbia, CAR:GO shouldn't be able to be on it. But it seems they are. And if they don't support Serbia, how come they've accepted funds?

He replied to that question on FB: "We had to open a company and a bank account in the EU."

Ah, that solves that mystery. Thanks! Also means that them being a Serbian company hasn't really got anything to do with why they had issues with Braintree.

Not necessarily. E.g. for PayPal you need to provide company president's home address in a given country.

I had a company and a bnak account registered in UK, and PayPal didn't want to do business with me, because I lived in Poland. I couldnt register for Polish paypal either, because the company was in UK.

I have exactly the same problem with PayPal. I have a company in Estonia, including a bank account and everything, but I personally can't open the account because I'm from Slovakia and the moment I enter that, the entire account switches to Slovakia. I have spent hours dealing with PayPal support and they were not even able to acknowledge the problem. Now I have an account that I can't really use for business, because I expect problems whenever I have to move money to the company's bank account. Surprisingly, I'm a happy Braintree customer, despite PayPal owning Braintree.

How you've opened the bank account in uk without been resident there ?

You don't need to be resident there. The same applies in the US, except in most circumstances you have to be physically present at the bank to actually open the account.

You don't need to be physically present with most banks though their frontline staff might tell you that. You will face extra requirements to prove your identity if you can't show up in person, though.

E.g. when I opened my first US bank account the bank required me to get a copy my ID documents notarised, and wouldn't accept just any notary public, it had to be notarised by the US consulate.

Mind telling me which bank?

I know of only two that'll even entertain this: TD Bank and Silicon Valley Bank.

Chase was the one I had to go to the US Consulate for. I've also used TD Bank, and some others that I don't remember.

The key thing is that a lot of their front line staff may either not know or don't want to deal with the hassle of this for a "normal" account holder.

Best bet is generally to get through to whatever department handles high net worth individuals or corporate accounts. Some banks also have special departments handling expats that are used to dealing with the hassle of people who are not present. And even if you're a foreign national, those departments may be able/willing to help.

Even if they're not the right ones to handle the account opening (I certainly was not a high net worth client when I opened my first ones) these are the teams most likely to know if their bank allows for it and who to talk to.

If you have a lawyer or accountant, my impression is that your odds go up just by channeling your request through them. Presumably it makes them think you're more likely to be a potential high value client. In general this sidesteps a lot of complications with banks.

An approach some may allow if they do need you to come in is for you to come in to non-branch offices. E.g. a large bank with a private wealth management or investment banking office in your country may be willing to let you pop in (by appointment) to show your ID there if you find the right person and ask nicely.

I get the impression that with a lot of banks just demonstrating that you know about premier/high net worth departments or think to go to a corporate / investment department creates the implication in their mind that you're not a regular customer and should be treated with some extra care just in case you turn out to be important.

Opening a business account when not a resident isn't hard. It's personal accounts that require proof of residence.

Actually, it was quite difficult too. Which is crazy, considering Poland is/was a part of the same union...

Huh, I thought Barclays and HMBC have 'walk-in' international banking accounts. They're strictly speaking 'offshore' accounts but usually what you care is having an account with a british bank, rather than having an account that is legally in UK.

You can register and run business in UK while still living in for example Poland. Guess that was business account.

Seems that they have a company in UK...not sure what bank accounts they use(usually they don't open you a business bank account if you're not resident...at least this did happen to me)

Apparently Serbia is 'supported' although to what degree is unknown. Specifically, the dinar is supported.


What you linked to is a list of countries for the address of the purchaser. It's possible for a payment processor to only accept merchants in the US, for example, while allowing that US merchant to accept purchases from any country in the world.

Close, I linked to a list of supported currencies.

Check again. Your link is to the list of countries. This is the list of currencies: https://developers.braintreepayments.com/reference/general/c...

Why did they let them sign up and receive payments, though..?

If they are using USD I fail to see how country even plays a role. It makes sense if you are converting currency, you want to have a local office to keep some sort of buoyancy. However, if the currency matches your origin, then you can do digital business anywhere there's an ip address. I fail to see how country can play a role in what is presumably an entirely USD-based transaction.

Different regulations regarding money transmitting businesses in different countries.

Different countries require different paperwork from money transmitters, and you have tomcomplain with it. If you could just follow your country's red tape, all the money transmitters would just operate from an unregulated tax heaven...

This sounds like the Paypal stories all over again. Oh wait, Paypal acquired Braintree.

Not really...the regulations has always been there.

Because... you assume... that just because its USD means that it is through US accounts?

You can be Canadian and have a bank account in US dollars. But the way to transfer money would be the Canadian system.

As they're a subsidiary of PayPal, it really would require extraordinary evidence to convince me that Braintree doesn't suck. Sadly, no such evidence was offered in the linked post.

> As they're a subsidiary of PayPal, it really would require extraordinary evidence to convince me that Braintree doesn't suck

Really! If it is a subsidiary of PayPal - That itself is an evidence that stuff doesn't always work and destined for poor customer service. When stuff works with PayPal, it normally works. But when it doesn't work - it's almost impossible to get their Support to acknowledge the problem. I've been following up on two problems - first one is 10 months old related to reducing merchant fees (as they advertise), the second one is 6 months old related to incorrectly deducted chargeback fee (when there was really no chargeback). Every time they have a call with me, the support person doesn't know the history of the case. I've given up on those cases because its not a huge amount to crib on. For now, being outside the US, PayPal holds a strong monopoly. But Really - if its from PayPal, its destined to be poor customer service with some horror stories.

>a subsidiary of PayPal

And for that reason, I direct my clients to go elsewhere.

What other payment processor would you suggest?


Stripe can ask you to shutdown a legitimate product if they get bullied from some other larger organisation. It happened with us and we lost the respect we had for Stripe.

Can you explain your situation a bit more?

Most of the world can't use Stripe.

Stripe supports virtually all credit cards as well as alipay and bitcoin. If that's not most of the world, what is?

Most all end users can use stripe. A lot of businesses can't https://stripe.com/global.

Stripe did introduce Stripe Atlas. Although this doesn't solve the situation totally, it's at least one of a number of helpful steps in the right direction.

If you want to register and run a us entity it helps but most people don't want that kind of hassle. I've done it from Canada and Australia and unless youre planning on getting us investors is probably not a good idea. Though I haven't accepted my atlas invite yet so not sure how much better it'd be.

That only works for a tiny proportion of Silicon Valley-like startups.

Credit card use is highly uncommon in large parts of Europe.


For payments using direct bank transfers tends to be the standard approach in the EU, certainly for national payments.

Sure, but that's not what we're talking about here. For those kind of payments, in the US they still tend to use cheques. For buying stuff from shops or online, we use cards, just like anywhere else, no?

If you mean you use credit cards for buying stuff online, then no: that is not what we do here. I'm not sure about all of the EU, but at least in NL the majority of online transactions use payments directly with your normal checking account at your bank using a system called iDeal (see https://www.ideal.nl/en/ ).

Crazy. I stand corrected. In the UK we just use credit and debit cards for everything.

But then, we're not really representative of the rest of Europe I guess. Even less so nowadays :(

Stripe supports iDeal btw.

I use Authorize.net. I also use Stripe. And I mostly like sending customers an invoice via Quickbooks.


...Despite the overwhelming evidence for the contrary (see pycon)?


I think developers come at payment services with a mindset that it's such a simple thing (it's really just decrementing a number in one account and incrementing a number in another account) that they leave it to last to implement. Like security, it should be part of every decision you make, from day one. Particularly if you live outside the US.

CarGo's experience is a great example. For an app that lives and dies on efficient payment processing, they would have had been wise to have two payment processors coded up and ready to go. They should have been completely honest with their payment processors, built up a relationship, and sought assurances that their operation was acceptable.

The payment processor's biggest problem by far is fraud. That is why they have to charge significant margins, and why you have to send all your great-grandparent's birth certificates to them, and why they will suspend your account if there is the faintest whiff of suspicion. That's what makes the decrement-increment hard - really hard.

Treat the payments problem with the respect it deserves - as CarGo has found out, it can kill your business dead overnight.

The first thing they ask you when you open an account is how much volume you have.. There is no such thing as a "backup" payment gateway.

The first few weeks of operation the "backup" gateway would suspend your account for not providing the necessary volume of sales.

Not in my experience. We have three payment providers at the moment, including one that only handles a few transactions a month. We've never been hassled over minimal volume.

I can't explain our difference experiences - maybe it's down to providers. We've been through five, and are currently very happy with Stripe.

True, you can't call them "backup" to their face. But you will trickle through traffic for weeks whilst you sort out teething troubles anyway, so there is not going to be volumes after a few weeks.

Then eventually you can make a decision which works best. The new provider (the backup) or the old provider. Then turn the volume to the best one.

Though I would never go 100% on any of them. Maybe keep some geoip through the backup. E.g. South America with one provider. France with another. Or a 5% load balanced volume.

It is good to keep them all up to date and active, as from experience they all frequently f-up and you have to feature toggle a provider off for a day or week now and then, or at least throttle them down.

It is not a matter of just being shut down due to low volume. The rates that you get depend on the volume. So the "back up" gateways end up so expensive you have no interest in even keeping them around.

From my experience you end up being tied pretty hard to pretty one provider and as long as you make fraud prevention yourself you can stay in business. Problem is that if you do all the fraud prevention stuff yourself then why do you need braintree for? To just invoke a .charge(100, "EUR")??

>It is not a matter of just being shut down due to low volume. The rates that you get depend on the volume. So the "back up" gateways end up so expensive you have no interest in even keeping them around.

The rate difference would be an investment in redundancy. If Provider A goes down, I would guess you'll be grateful to have Provider B taking the failover traffic, even if costs you an extra 2.9% in transaction costs. You'd keep feeding Provider B the minimally-acceptable amount of traffic at the higher price point to keep that redundancy alive.

Not backup .. load balanced perhaps ? Across two or three ?.. you would not trust single server, cloud provider, DC , DNS for HA then why trust a single payment provider ?

This exists for high risk merchants -- there are a number of offerings like: https://www.easypaydirect.com/special-needs/load-balancing/

I'd need to do more research to find the best solution but it looks like payment processor risk is definitely something that can be mitigated.

Braintree is now a subsidiary of Paypal which makes me slightly suspicious of them from past Paypal experiences. Though up till now I had only heard good things about Braintree.

Without more exact details it is hard to cast an objective judgment, for me at least. Though the dude seems pretty pissed.

In a world where Stripe is used in very few countries - Braintree seemed like a great alternative(It was just about the time it was being bought by PayPal).

Six months into our "cooperation" they sent an email breaking the contract with us(e-commerce retailer) because their "bank" was protesting too many of our sales..

The truth of the matter is that Braintree was literally accepting all credit card transactions and had almost 0 fraud protection(for example we had orders being shipped to a Greek city, ordered by Iraqi-named citizens using US based credit cards..they all went through fine).

So they just breached the cooperation and they kept a large chunk of the owed money for like 4 months until their "bank" verified some thing or the other.

In my personal experience you cannot rely on Braintree to block fraudulent transactions for you - you have to do it yourself and pray that still you don't miss on too many frauds passing through to Braintree. Makes you wonder what use all these "credit card gateways" have if you still have to bear all the cost of doing the fraud-prevention yourself..

That is true for almost all payment gateways - fraud protection is the responsibility of the client. Read up on what happened to Stripe customers in the hover board craze of 2015-16. That's why there are many popular third-party fraud reduction services (for a fee, of course).

Sounds like you need to stop complaining and pick a new payment provider. Get a local loan, start giving away free rides, continue to pay your drivers and start a countdown clock to doomsday. That's how long you have to implement a new solution and recover from this.

Or you can whine about it on Facebook and a few weeks from now you'll be forgotten.

Easier said than done...I already borrowed bunch of cash to keep the wheels spinnin...cant get a loan, as we got no physical assets, so doomsday came and I bitch about it. Still, it is unfair what they are doing to us, I am sure we are not the only ones too...

Have you considered getting a loan from a P2P lending network? I heard good things about mintos.com, check them out or google for alternatives.

you can't pay your drivers if you have no money...

    Get a local loan,
"Hi, we have a very successful local business but we made a mistake with choosing a payments company that might end up killing us entirely. Here are our stats, here are the kind of transactions we're dealing with, etc...

We need a loan of X to keep us operating for the next few months. what kind of terms can you give us?"

Serbia might not be the kind of place where this is possible, but I could go to my local credit union in Ann Arbor and probably pull this off in less than an hour. Head home, get operations back up same-day, and proceed to bust ass on implementing a new provider on the backend.

This would get me laughed at in any Romanian bank. "You managed to lose a ton of money and now you want to lose our money too?"

To be fair, it would get you laughed at in a lot of places in America too. If you have a great credit rating and a rapport with a good, locally-controlled institution, this might work. The parent seems confident it would work in his case, which is great, but it is definitely not always that easy out here.

Non-firstworld problems:

* Getting a loan isn't easy. * Getting a credit card isn't easy. * Getting an overdraft facility isn't easy.

Yeah, it may be difficult to get funds, but whining on facebook but taking no other action seems to be rather....careless. I do hope that their issue gets resolved but I also sincerely hope that if they get a chance, in the future, they would have some kind of contingency plan.

Why do you think they've done nothing except "whine on facebook" and what action, exactly, would you advise them to take? If they sue Braintree in the US, the legal costs will be insane (especially by Serbian standards) and it will virtually ensure they won't see a penny until years later.

After reading the comments, and seeing what others have gone through, and generally speaking I'm not the biggest fan of PayPal. I gotta say: +1 to stripe! https://stripe.com/

They are fantastic to work with, and its super easy to get setup with them. Hats off!

I asked Stripe a question once, and they answered! Specifically and referring to the details I had described in my question. I'd never expect that from a Paypal. But like Braintree, that will probably become a thing of the past as they grow bigger.

I've always received (very) high quality responses from Stripe support in the next 12h. It's a great company. Concerning Braintree, the fact that they do not provide REST like API and only SDK is a no go.

It's hard to gather from this post what exactly happened. Does anyone have details?

The only thing I get from this post is that Braintree delayed their payments due to whatever reason(without telling them why?).

All I got form that was "we cloned Uber, then didn't do due process when selecting a payment gateway".

Yes, the only reason this app exists is because Uber isn't allowed to run in Serbia.

Which isn't exactly germane to the issue at hand. Cloning someone else's business idea has no bearing on 'should they be able to earn money for services provided?'.

We actually had the exact same situation here in Hong Kong with Braintree. They did not transfer the funds to our account and always blamed "banking partners" for the problems. The worst customer service I've dealt with and switching to Stripe as soon as it became available in Hong Kong was a no brainer.

Given you're in HK, interesting username (ManuAloha). Are you from HI? In any case, aloha from Kaua'i :)

Aloha! Not from Hawaii but would be happy to move there once day :D

Payment Processing/Network is the most innovation-less thing IMO. But still there is not a non-profit leader. Why ?

On both parts of your comment you are missing a huge piece of the puzzle: fraud.

A payments processor (old school or digital) is constantly taking on some certain amount of risk of fraud, from both the credit card user and the merchant itself. I could set up a store that appears to be real and just move my money out of my bank account and run. I could also go to a carding site, use real credit cards on my own fake store, wait for my transfers to process, cash out of my store and run. I could 'just' use it as a small operation to check whether my stolen credit cards are really working, and then make big purchases later... and that's just the very basics in merchant fraud.

Between this fraud, and risks from otherwise honest parties (what do you think happens when people preorder something, the company goes under, and the consumer tells the CC company that they want their money back? Someone ends up holding the bag), it'd be pretty much impossible to run a payment processor as a non profit center without a lot of work. Add to that that merchants want more complex features, like subscriptions, the effort to maintain PCI compliance, and that adding support for each new payment type and country is a pain in the behind for everyone, even for companies that do their very best to cut out every middleman.

So as long as you are interacting with banks and the risk of fraud is not carried 100% by the consumer, bitcoin style, you'll have a lot more innovation than you think, most of it dedicated to making life harder for fraudsters, and you'll find that this is something that you have to do for-profit. I'd not even consider doing it without venture capital, because you need a bankroll to handle the fraud losses which will definitely happen.

If you want proof of the innovation going on, just ask any fraud forum out there: There were plenty of people with nice and easy ways to defraud online processors, but nowadays, for all but the best fraudsters, it's a whole lot of effort for very little compensation.

And still, I'd not be caught dead carrying the amount of risk that someone like Braintree or Stripe is carrying on a regular basis without a profit motive.

I was more thinking about non-profit's own payment network over cc & others.

Fraud can be solved by making each irreversible txn ratable. Each seller can choose to make sum of all ratings and txn over some period public to appear more trustworthy. The algo can be more tweaked but txn rating is the gist.

An excellent question. May the digital credit union arise from the ashes!

I believe I read that PayPal's founders themselves have stated that PayPal would've been impossible to start under post-9/11 banking regulations. We all know that the current (terrible) state of banking is a regulatory/legal problem, not a technical one.

Because the owners of that network are a consortium of banks, whose motivation is profit, reinforced by regulation.

It would have been true if there were not so many networks (SWIFT, VISA, MasterCard, Paypal, Braintree, Google Wallet, Apple Pay, ...). Judging by the increasing number of networks It can only be concluded that its not so hard. Only non profit can put stop to this mess.

All of those networks you just mentioned rely on banking infrastructure.

True. My point was that profit motivation of banks should not be an issue.

It is an issue since that very motivation backs the regulation that makes the type of disruption you're visioning extremely difficult.

I was just going through some blog online when I met a testimony of this BLANK ATM CARD made by H.A.C TECH (rameeshj.86@gmail.com) I contacted that very address and I got one at an imaginable rate.(compared to what the card carries,the rate is minimal) At first I thought,it was gonna be some scam or something. But when I got the card I could get nothing less that $10,000 in a day. (ten thousand usd). Here is the testimony I saw; “Its the programmed ATM card that can hack into all ATM machines. Its works with any currency and in any country where you might be living. Its is programmed in a way that when transaction is carried out with the card ,it can’t be traced. To make use of this card ,you need no account number or even pin of anyone. Its simple because there is a manual attatched that teaches usage ,and also give more explanation concerning the card.” So friends,its a new year and a new beginning. If you need funds to start up some busines,pay up bills and loans or money to live a good life? Then you gat to make this opportunity yours. Though is illegal as you and I know ,but since government can’t satisfy my whole needs, I have to do what I have to do,to get what I want and for my family to be happy..Though this post is not for everybody,but for those who truly need change from a poor state to a wealthy life. A way to say happy new year to you and you out there. address once more is rameeshj.86@gmail.com ……. and you can open the link bellow in youtube to see how this is real working https://youtu.be/-z84lTD8nWs

I wonder if Stripe could now cover their operational costs in a form of a loan and process payments from now on. Would be a great PR move.

Unrelated to the payment subject but it always blows my mind when companies not just copy a business model (which is fine and expected) but also more or less copy the identity along the way.

Which identity did they copy? (I mean, I suspect you are implying Uber or Lyft, but I didn't get any vibes that pointed me towards either one of them past the "app for taxi" part)



They both have the name of the app in the top center, in a thin stylized font, with lots of spacing between the letters. Immediately under is the words "Pickup location" in light text on a white background then under that the address where you are being picked up. There's a blue circle to represent your location.

There's the map with pastel colors, and a popup with round corners saying "Set Pickup Location" then on the right side of that is a circle with a right 90 degree angle arrow inside with rounded corner and ends. Under that is a pushpin with a sphere with a specular highlight. In one corner of the screen is a man's silhouette inside a circle.

The name and colors actually feel even more blatantly copied from car2go. (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.car2go&hl=...)

The comparison to soldiers killing people is pretty ridiculous.

As well as people in Chicago grilling steaks and going to ball games. In the winter?

Now if he said something like "eating a lassanga soupy mixture that you call pizza" I would have been clapping.

I'm sorry...winter? It's almost April now, although of course the grilling steaks is still probably an overstatement

I think we got the most snow we've had all winter last week.

I have been looking to move away from Braintree for a while, they are eyewateringly expensive, and are now Paypal, which I am extremely uncomfortable with. I was previously based in a country where there is no Stripe support, but that is changing, so looking at alternatives. Can't wait to move away...

Car:GO is 100% at fault for relying on a service not present in the same country for a vital service as payment. Plus a startup like Car:go should pair up with a start up like itself where they are the main customer.

We need to have multiple options for vital services like payment.

This happened so often, that I assembled a group of 100+ fintech entrepreneurs on facebook just to counter situations like this. Urgh. I feel bad for him.


I know this is awful, but the general reputation/expectation is that a foreign company can't handle payments infrastructure in Serbia, I never thought it would be the backwards version of this.

if using Braintree would lead to problems like the ones mentioned by OP, what are the alternatives, in US and elsewhere, square cash?


Lots there and to be fair there a lot of other providers not even listed on that wikipedia page. Actually a few big ones that I have worked are not on there: Vindicia, PayEx, Paymill, etc

Stripe, probably, is going to handle something like this the best. but there are a TON of "alternatives" out there.

Is it very hard to roll an in house solution in collaboration with a local bank?

Not hard. And is an option as a fall back mode. Especially if not making any money yet....

But not one I would recommend. As you would spend too much of your time on your payment solution than your business. Continually trying to detect fraud, recovering from devastating fraud that has already happened, dealing with volumes of chargebacks, hiring a lot of customer service people, wasting time on edge cases, accepting customers from different countries, dealign with legal from different countries etc.

If only a niche business for local customers, with low volume, then fine. Not for nationwide, definitely not for international, and not for big volumes.

I was about to say that this 'problem" smells like a potential new startup.

payments, in general, are terrible for startups. They are low margin, high capital cost, extremely regulated, and highly competitive. The incumbents have zero interest or incentive to work with you, so you have to be very well connected to get anything done. All of these alone make it a bad idea for a startup, but combined, they are nothing short of insurmountable for all but the experienced and well funded founders.

Here is a great piece by Danny Shader, CEO of PayNearMe. They are one of the most successful payments startups in recent history. You should give it a read: http://venturebeat.com/2015/02/17/so-you-want-to-start-a-pay...

If you are searching for a payment provider, you can also look at Adyen. While their integrations and API's are a bit rough, they have many payment providers and important international customers using it.

Instead of complaining there are many solutions:

- Let the drivers accept cash in the meantime?

- Move to another payment processor? (e.g. Stripe?)

- Accept bitcoin?

- Use some direct payment between passengers and drivers? (e.g. Venmo, bitcoin, etc.)

(I messaged him that)

this isn't new, big companies love to screw small ones. They are assholes at Braintree, that is well known, i recommend the guys at cargo to switch to Stripe. Those people are enterpreneurs like you..... hope the best for ya mate!

Dude, I've spoken to Braintree customer support and they're incredibly nice and quick. The only better customer support I know of is for my Sapphire Reserve credit card.

Calling them assholes raises my eyebrow. It seems like the kind of place that would show a rude CS agent the door zero strikes you're out.

Stripe doesn't support Serbia.

Does Braintree?



I'd expect that most companies rely on one payment provider, at least in the early days. The cost of implementing, testing, etc. multiple providers is pretty high. I have only switched providers twice in the decade long life of my company, and only due to extreme pain from the previous one. It takes a lot to get me to sign on for the pain of a migration, and that's even more pronounced now that so much data ends up stored in your payment providers database; so, your customer data isn't even yours to migrate, anymore (AFAIK, I haven't crossed this bridge yet, but I guess I will one day, if Braintree, who I'm currently using, does something to make their service untenable for us).

Of course it is painful to implement a seconds provider for backup, but payments are their lifeline. And PayPal has a track record for stuff like that. Never rely your whole business on PayPal!

I saw a talk at the MRC conference by the woman who heads up payments for Facebook. They put a bunch of development effort into a tool that allows them to switch providers at will for exactly this reason. It not only gives them security, it allows them to seamlessly direct traffic to whomever is providing the best rates at any given time.

If you are Facebook, Amazon or someone like that it can make sense, but their level of sophistication is insane for someone that isn't making millions a month. At a smaller scale, the best that you can do is just to have bindings for the processors that do easy integration, but it's still a bunch of work that isn't going towards making more money, but towards insurance.

So putting sophistication on your payments platform is something that you should only care about once you are very successful anyway.

Yeah my bad, I didn't mean to suggest that their approach makes sense for everyone. I was just trying to support his point that reducing dependence on a single processor can be a beneficial practice.

We didn't, but cc transactions were the only ones growing from all other options of payment we have in the app...

This is what you'd spend time on, eh? If you had a startup you'd split payments between two providers and write payment processing for both, in case one holds your money.

Presumably you'd also hold three months worth of cash expenditures so you can maintain cash flow.

But in two separate banks?

In two separate currencies?

True, but this is a known problem with certain payment processors. Going under because a PayPal subsidiary screwed you is management (and investors who failed to do adequate due diligence) screwing up.

Nowadays, I highly recommend integrating with a tokenization provider, instead of with a payment provider directly. Payment processing is a commodity, and if your provider isn't fulfilling, switching is much easier. I've used Spreedly in the past.

But that is the fee, 1%? For some size of business, it's not worth paying a "double" payment provider fee to do the token provider thing (+ the extra development work)

This guy get's absolutely zero sympathy from me when he starts his rant, complaining in a condescending tone.

"It sure is a weekend. It is probably nice and cozy for most of you over there in Chicago, enjoying a ball game, visiting friends and family, grilling that steak, feeling good about yourself."

It is funny how people like this want to blame and paint American corporations as evil, yet they build their business on startups and companies that could have only been founded and successful here in the US. They hope and dream of making it to Silicon Valley, raising money from US investors. It is total hypocrisy. Don't like it, why don't you use only Serbian companies, banks, and investors to power your startup? Oh that's right...

He's very clearly talking about Braintree, which is based in Chicago, not about American corporations in general.

And tell me why Braintree has an obligation to take his business. He's in a risky country Serbia, which has a high potential for chargebacks and fraud.

They have an obligation to provide the service they already agreed to, do they not?

Wrong. Serbia is not in EU.

    You must also have a bank account with a US, European, Australian, Canadian, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysian, or New Zealand-chartered bank.

He specifically mentioned that he had a bank account in the EU in the comments

Applications are open for YC Winter 2018

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | DMCA | Apply to YC | Contact