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And this is why PayPal makes me nervous
A week or two ago, I mentioned the crowdfunding project for ProtonMail, a secure email platform based in Switzerland. Today's little fillip to that story is that PayPal apparently (in that way PayPal does) peremptorily cut off their funding for no good reason. Of course, PP claims that this was just a mistake, but it fits too closely with too many other stories I've heard.

All of which cuts a bit close to home. Sometime next year, Querki is going to have to start taking memberships, and that is inevitably going to require getting in bed with *some* sort of solid payments processor. And the truth is, in a lot of ways I'd actually *like* that to be PayPal: I like the general design of the service, and have been a member for many years. (And while, yes, their security may not be 100% airtight, it is *vastly* better than the credit card system in general.) But I just don't know whether I can trust them enough to use them for a key business service -- they have too much history of screwing over their customers on a whim.

I really do wonder whether PP is really as clueless as they seem to be, about how much damage they have done themselves through too many arbitrary decisions. They've wound up opening the door to competitors (including Amazon, as well as a host of other players) who would be *more* than happy to steal their business. And it's exactly the startups who tend to choose a processor and then stick with it for a fair while who they are driving away...

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Ask Dreamwidth who they handle their payment processing through.

Paypal got letterbombed by a bunch of THINK OF THE CHILDRENZ people who wanted Dreamwidth to change their ToS to block a lot of the fanfic that was happening there. And not child-porn, either - nothing illegal. But the bombers basically demanded that Paypal cut them off if they refused to change the ToS, and said they'd paint Paypal with the "funding porn" brush.

So Paypal cut off DW, and for a while, they couldn't accept *any* credit cards. They found someone better - I'm not sure who.

I'm surprised that you like the "general design of the service". Its interface has always seemed horribly user-unfriendly to me: there's no way to set it to use your credit card by default, so each time I buy something I have to make a bunch of extra clicks to manually select it, and it repeatedly tries to bludgeon you with "bill me later" options. I understand why it does this from a business perspective, but it makes me want to avoid using them whenever possible.

And yeah, there've been plenty of stories over the years about PayPal cutting off people without warning and holding money hostage, too.

You should check out Stripe if you haven't already. I know some of the people working there, and it seems developer-friendly and like they're actually trying to do things right rather than just make a paypal clone.

My disgusted-with-PayPal story:

I had a client book a party and pay the deposit through PayPal. She didn't recognize the charge on her statement and called her credit card for more info. A dispute was opened over the charge. She didn't request the dispute and asked that it be canceled. Her card blamed PayPal and PayPal blamed her card for opening the dispute. And they both said they couldn't cancel it.

My only recourse was to provide proof that her item was shipped (which of course I couldn't, since there was no item and no shipping). PayPal was remarkably unhelpful in every way.

And now, after we worked everything out and she paid cash at the party, her credit card told her the money would be returned to my PayPal account at the end of July, about 3 months after this nonsense started.

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Yeah, if I was doing in-person I'd almost certainly use Square. (I keep being tempted to get a Square reader just because it's cool, and have to remind myself that I have absolutely no actual use for one.)

But my real need is online membership, which means somebody who does credit card processing, has a good API, and a solid reputation. Don't know who yet, but there seem to be a number of players by now.

I'd be interested to hear who you decide to go with...

It would seem that Stripe is pretty much exactly what you're looking for.


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Yeah, it's on my list of contenders to check out when the time comes...

+1 for Stripe. NEIL is moving in that direction.

Useful feedback -- thanks! They do seem to have most of what I might want, and everything I'm likely to need for the first couple of years...

The best non-business use I've seen for Square is splitting a delivery order.

....that's brilliant. And dangerous to college kids with no financial sense.

But mostly brilliant.

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