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Paypal alternatives (webdistortion.com)
161 points by iuguy on Dec 4, 2010 | hide | past | web | favorite | 65 comments

Particularly timely in the wake of PayPal's decision to suspend payments to Wikileaks ...

EDIT: I was surprised to see this comment voted down. PayPal suspending payments to WikiLeaks is a clear signal to any startup hosting potentially-controversial comment needs to be concerned about it happening to them. The article, written earlier, doesn't mention that, so my comment adds value to the conversation. What was the reasoning behind downvoting it?

Although I find it somewhat strange that people didn't use all those previous predatory practices of PayPal as an opportunity to look for alternatives, I'm glad they take at least this opportunity.

In my opinion, PalPal should have boycotted for years because of what they did to many other people and organizations, especially to non-profit-making organizations.

EDIT: I don't know why your comment has been voted down, but I didn't vote up because to me it is pretty obvious that the submission of this article is connected to the Wikileaks story.

* I find it somewhat strange that people didn't use all those previous predatory practices of PayPal as an opportunity to look for alternatives,*

I've been looking and looking, but the one thing that keeps me with PayPal as a vender is their debit card (and the instant access to cash it give s you). The moment a credible alternative offers that, I'm gone.

That said, the Obopay method of depositing money to your bank account every day may work - I'll have to investigate and see if those deposits happen quickly or if there is a day or two processing delay.

oops on the date, i changed it to "written earlier"

okay, fair enough: if people thought my comment was obvious, i can see why they voted it down. thanks!

Hard to believe most of the entries would be any better about bowing to US pressure. Several of them already don't accept US accounts (anymore) because of their ties to online gambling.

PayPal suspending payments to WikiLeaks is a clear signal to any startup hosting potentially-controversial comment needs to be concerned about it happening to them.

Don't piss off the US government.

Why not? I'd say it's about time people stop being afraid and start pissing of the US, Chinese & European governments, no?

How many of these are actually "easier", in the sense of reducing friction for your customers? I'm curious, more than anything else.

Not quite a PayPal alternative, but I am currently developing a client for Open Transactions.

Here's the wiki: https://github.com/FellowTraveler/Open-Transactions/wiki

This project looks great, but is there any financial institution supporting or using that protocol?

The project is very young. Open Transactions was posted to Cryptome (http://cryptome.org/0002/open-transactions.htm) on the 4th September, which is when I first heard of it, and I've only been working on the client for approx. two weeks during the time when I am not in class.

However, the hope is that once there are some working clients it should be trivial to issue assets and to run a transaction server, so anyone can create and start issuing currency backed with whatever they want. Hopefully some pre-existing currency providers will run servers and issue certificates, but I also hope that with the availability of easy to use clients and simple to deploy servers that the private currency ecosystem will really start to flourish.

N.B., this has not received any real peer review yet, but is based on OpenPGP, OpenSSL and uses Lucre for blind signatures.

FaceCash (http://www.facecash.com) should be in the list, too. We're not international yet, however.

As somebody who has no idea what you're talking about with "no stickers no squares" on you homepage, I'd suggest you rewrite your tagline so that first time visitors can parse it.

"pay for stuff with FaceCash" seems to be what you're all about, right? Why start off by telling us about things you're not. Especially when we don't get your inside references about those things.

This is a nice addition to the list.

However, their main site takes about 13 seconds to load. This is quite slow for a company that advertises their service to be "quick like a fox".

On my machine, it took 1.47 seconds according to Firebug. Where are you located?

Guys, if you are interested just drop me a line (email in profile) and will give client-side optimized versions of you front page and one of the content pages with explanation what was done and why for free.

Thanks for the offer. I could be wrong but I think our page is fairly optimized at this point--I think any delay may be DNS-related since the majority of it seems to occur while the domain is resolving. Not sure what's up with that...

> but I think our page is fairly optimized at this point

I took a quick look via Firebug/Networking on your site:

31 sub requests, of which 5 form a chain so they can't load in parallel. The server at www.facecash.com waits 2.5 seconds before it sends back the content (this is not DNS waiting time!). On s.facecash.com which you use for the other page components, those are just 0.2 seconds.

The page has 409 KB in total, of which 97 KB are JavaScript code and 135 KB are the main picture (home1.jpg). This big picture changes on each request, smashing the browser caching and ensuring subsequent page reloads will be slow, too.


You should really overcome your ego and to make use of the offer given to you.

> I think any delay may be DNS-related

Here in Germany, your domain resolves within a few milliseconds. However, your whole site takes 12-13 seconds to load. (FWIW, I have a 16 MBit internet connection)

You'll have to learn a lot about basic things like: how to compress images properly, how to decrease web server latency, how to get JS code out of the critical path, how to ensure proper cache use on client side, etc.

Don't get me wrong: It is perfectly okay if a young company's system isn't fully optimized. That's fine, nobody expects this. But if you claim to be "quick like a fox" and to be "fairly optimized at this point", you're saying that you think you are fast enough, so customers can't hope you'll be willing to improve your speed much in the future. And that is a problem, unless you were really optimized, which you aren't.

I do appreciate your suggestions, but this doesn't have anything to do with my ego. I took up the volunteer above (whose name I don't know) on his offer. Meanwhile, the site is fairly optimized. That doesn't mean everything is perfect, but it's not like we've totally ignored speed either. You may think the site is slow, but were it not for a lot of details you've ignored, it would be far slower. All I'm saying is that a lot of work has gone into this and you don't have to imply that we're idiots.

Also, 400K isn't all that much; one of our competitors sends over 4.2MB on their home page alone and it's a very professionally-done site. Aside from all of that, if our server configuration needs more looking at, we'll look at it.

It's great to have constructive criticism like the points contained in your comment, but had it been written without the sarcasm and small insults I would have found it that much more compelling.

I do appreciate your suggestions, but this doesn't have anything to do with my ego.

It's great to have constructive criticism like the points contained in your comment, but had it been written without the sarcasm and small insults I would have found it that much more compelling.

Sounds like ego to me. There was no sarcasm in his host, and its critical tone is probably warranted when your site takes that long to load.

Take his advice or not, but please, move those 4 <script> tags from your header to your footer. It would take you 2 minutes and your site would feel 2x as fast.

Its a nice site, which could be even nicer with some extra speed, and it won't take you any time.

Done! Thanks for the tip.

For me, it spends about 1 second getting the page, then it spends about 1-2 seconds each re-downloading the js files: jquery, jquery-watermark, shared, and shared-jquery. They're all loaded sequentially. The rest of the assets seem to be properly cached.

> The rest of the assets seem to be properly cached.

I don't think so. See my other comment. In short:

The main picture changes on each request so it can't be cached properly.

The cache parameters of the assets force the browser to reload them on each request, although the server then just responds with a "304 Not Modified". This can still be improved by making the browser not reloading them in the first place.

Finally, a first time visitor doesn't have anything in the cache, so the assets should be small and well-compressed, which they aren't.

This is correct from what I'm seeing. We know about some issues with the Apache configuration that seem to be delaying the JavaScript downloads, but otherwise we actually have spent a fair bit of time optimizing things.

To clarify, I really appreciate everyone's feedback here, I just don't think it's a page problem, I think it's a DNS or server configuration problem.

Well, seems like you fixed the caching of the js assets at least. That made the pages load in one second for me, instead of six seconds. Quite an improvement! :-)

Took like forever here >5sec here (Europe). And once connection was established the elements also built up peace by peace. Reminded me of the 90's. (no offense)

It took about 18 seconds to get a response from the server and about 25 to load the page completely.

Montreal, Canada

Only about three seconds here. Located in San Francisco.

10 seconds until first response, 23 seconds until completely rendered on mbit connection in NV.

Rochester, NY. I took ~7 seconds to load.

~15 seconds, but I'm halfway around the world (India)

This is very interesting. What is the purpose of the Wallet Card feature? I would have expected most merchants/authorities to be kind of squicked by someone showing up with just the data from a card and not the card itself, so it seems like an extra potential vulnerability without much upside...

     Allpay.net -- Recommended for U.K. Only
     BidPay.com -- Out Of Business 2 Years
     CertaPay -- Recommended for CANADA Only
     Checkfree -- NOT RECOMMENDED
     Moneybookers -- Recommended for ALL
     Nochex -- Recommended for U.K. Residents and Certain Others
     Ozpay.biz -- Out Of Business 3+ Years
     Paymate -- Recommended for Australia & New Zealand
     ProPay -- Recommended for U.S. Sellers

Not involved in any of those cited ...but just a question. Who says X alternative is NOT recommended ?

Is that not recommended because it is new ? or because it does not comply with X regulatory compliance or just because you dont like them.

Also, all these alternative do not target the same marketplaces that paypal has grown up with. Some address remittance for example. Others P2P payments. some national. other international.

I think this is just anti-innovation, labels that do not mean anything and so easy easy to throw into a new innovation.

When Paypal started, everyone was saying the same.So lets give a chance to the new players and respect their own targets.

I think all of these people hating on Paypal have never had a real merchant account. At least when the buyer complains on Paypal you have a chance of not losing your money, where with a credit card chargeback you are almost definitely screwed.

One of the benefits of Paypal being so crap is that we all eventually end up with real merchant accounts. That way, a chargeback means you lose money on one sale, vs. Paypal where a chargeback means that your entire business goes down for a week.

I don't mind giving money back to customers who are unhappy. I go out of my way to do so before it comes to a chargeback. As such, my mind can't spin "easier to keep your unhappy customers' money" into a feature for a payment processor.

That's going to depend strongly on the extent of your outlay in dealing with the customer up to that point. If your business is SaaS, giving money back is relatively painless, but if there's actual inventory involved it could be a real hassle.

"most" of these people hating on Paypal have never had a real merchant account. Obviously not all of the people have.

I think braintree is a big one: http://www.braintreepaymentsolutions.com/

Only if you're an established company or have wealthy founders that can personally guarantee the account. That is the good (and maybe bad) thing about paypal...pretty much anyone, with a decent credit score, can open a merchant account.

Stay away from gpal/gunpal -- their motives were honorable, but their management wasn't.

Anyone used Paymate?

They seem pretty attractive, esp. since buyers do not need to have an account to give you money - that seems to be the key feature that PayPal has on most competitors. They also do recurring payments which is pretty nice as well.

I would love to hear any reviews of them as I am actively considering adding them as an option for my site.

Nochex(.com) is a good alternative that I have used many times - a good service for buyers, low fees for merchants

I've been using Venmo (venmo.com) quite a bit. Real easy to use and no fees at all so far whatsoever. It's in beta, but you can sign up for an account if you download the app on your iphone or android device for free. I also have about 8 invites left if anyone is interested. Anybody using this as well

Vanco Services (https://www.vancoservices.com/vancoservices_solutions.htm) may be a solution for some. The company I work for has both used their services and partnered with them, and they've been great to work with.

I canceled my paypal account. I am a resident and did not want to get in trouble with immigration authorities so unfortunately could not tell paypal off as to why I canceled my account. I only chose the option 'Issue with Terms of Use.' Hopefully they will get the message.

I'm almost done with my DIY groupon clone that lets merchants use their own PayPal account to sell deals.

Are any of these a viable 2nd alternative? Should I consider something else for international markets?

wepay should be on this list

Was just looking at Wepay... from what I can see you need to create an account with them in order to make a payment. That would be a point of friction for a lot of customers. When I'm buying something online I don't even want to have to set up an account with the vendor, let alone another one with the payment processor.

but that's the point of wepay, it's group payment so you need to setup your group. in the long run, it makes tracking how much people owe each other much easier. they still processes payments.

overall, it's a great alternative to paypal for roommates and basic group expenses.

Not really. WePay is far from a PayPal replacement. Processing credit cards for groups doesn't make a PayPal replacement.

Also, no international support. A real paypal alternative must be broadly international.

Very nice!Not the Money Bookers, they sell your email addresses!

What about some proof or reasonable grounds?

I have had a moneybookers account for years, and it's on a unique email address. I've never received any spam to it, or email at all other than from moneybookers itself.

Parent comment, please do supply some more info.

I, too, signed up for MoneyBookers with a unique email id under my dad's name. (The only place on internet I am using that combination of Name and email).And after 3 months of inactive account I was flooded with emails from random spammers. Emails sent to that unique id addressed to my dad.Don't have the emails now, but will try and look for a screenshot I saved sometime back.

When all else fails, just use a merchant account.

Is there some good micropayments site?

Funny that it includes amazon payments..

Oh, and there's also wepay.com

The problem with most of these alternatives is that they are not ready for prime time.

Google Checkout has limited availability internationally. Furthermore, it has abysmal, nearly non-existent customer support. That's fine for a hobby site, but not for something a business relies on for its income.

Most of the other sites charge exchange fees for US transactions. That's fine if you don't have customers in the US, but not so good if you do.

Digital River is great (and Microsoft uses them to run its online store)...but not so great for small businesses. It's designed for and sold to large corporations. It can handle small businesses, but it's like using a sledgehammer when you need a hammer.

Amazon is really the only alternative for most situations, but it's also part of the Wikileaks mess...

I can't comment on your assertion, but I did want to mention the other unspoken item: the network effect.

It doesn't matter one whit that I have a moneybookers account if I can't use it to donate to the projects I support (or buy products, etc) because they are not on moneybookers. And I can assure you that "just signing up" for a money movement service is a _non-trivial_ operation.

Wait, how is Amazon involved?

They took down Wikileaks' AWS instances.


Well, dang, who isn't -- Google, I guess?

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