Thursday, December 15, 2011

Saying Goodbye to Paypal

I've talked a lot about performance and booth etiquette on this blog, but VO is a business. 

One of the most crucial aspects of any business? Getting paid. 

Thanks to digital reach each small business VO player, out of necessity, has to have nation or world-wide reach. That means needing to have solutions in place for large companies with actual payroll and invoicing structures, and moving all the way down the chain to individuals paying for their business needs from their personal credit cards and checking accounts. 

For the last several years, I've been using Paypal as my solution for that latter scenario. The bummer? I've never liked using Paypal. 

We can all agree that fees associated with credit/debit card based services will always suck. That's a pain we can all just take for granted now. However, FOR those fees I would expect a decent service, and this is something Paypal has never delivered for me. Their service is painful to use. 

The site layout is awful. There are always delays in doing what you want to do. They can invoice you and pull money from you nearly instantly, but moving money out of their system always takes several business days.  

The site's security is draconian, which should be a good thing since we're dealing with people's banking and credit card information, but in practice it always feels like a barrier. Jokes online abound with people unable to log in to their accounts for the few occasions they need to actually use the service. This year alone, I've been forced to change my password on three separate occasions, and have been "selected" to "participate" in two security audits where I needed to re-verify all of my information. Each of these audits have taken my account offline for more than a week at a time. Wouldn't you know it though, during the audits, I could still deposit money into my Paypal account, but I couldn't withdraw it...

These types of actions don't really instill me with a lot of confidence in using their service. I can't imagine what I would do if I depended on it for mission critical invoicing. 

So I'm going to stop using it. Goodbye Paypal. 

I'm under no illusion that my meager protest will actually affect much change. Paypal is probably the most well known digital invoicing company on the planet, but my money is the only vote I have, and I'm tired of giving them my money only to be frustrated. 

In the meantime, I'm looking for alternatives. Dwolla looks really interesting, and the fees are MUCH more reasonable (also, politically, anytime I can route my money without using a credit card, it just makes me feel better). 

I'd be open to any suggestions you have as well.


  1. I don't think yours will be a lone protest. I hear more and more people who have their accounts held for one or another cockamamie reason. I know of an online community that took donations via PayPal, had them held, and is still unable to access money members donated for the running of the community a couple years later.

    In addition to Dwolla, I've heard WePay mentioned as an alternative.

  2. I'd not heard of that, but wouldn't be surprised. Especially if they'd raised a large sum of money...

    I'll add WePay to the list. Thanks!

  3. The thing about paypal is everyone is familiar with it and clients can use credit cards. I use paypal all the time and except for the annoyance of the $ transfer taking a long time, I never have a problem. I've started passing the fee (about 3%) along to the client. I tell them if they wish to avoid the fee, they can pay by echeck. My invoicing system is Freshbooks. They directly link to paypal on the invoice and through them, paypal will only charge a flat .50 fee if people pay by echeck- So I give them a choice- But most of the time, the client just wants to pay the 3% because they'd prefer to use a credit card. For me, it's about everything being really convenient for my people. I'll look into WePay too-thanks!

  4. I personally lean towards Dwolla. No fees, and they're the best client to acquire bitcoins. Bitcoins of course are completely fee-free anonymous payments mechanisms which are an indispensable part of the internet's future :)

  5. Thanks for the info Rachel! It still doesn't instill me with much hope that to use Paypal with a little less pain, third party software is required...

    I'll have to take your word on it Robert. I still don't fully understand the bitcoin phenomena...