PayPal, the largest online provider of money transfer services, has been the preferred method of payment on eBay since it became a subsidiary in 2002. In early 2008, eBay announced that, with few exceptions, PayPal would be the exclusive payment method for nearly all of its online auction transactions. Though eBay has relaxed this policy somewhat since then, eBay no longer allows merchants to accept checks or money orders as payments, and the online auction transaction process retains a strong bias toward PayPal as a payment method. However, for people who wish to accept payments for eBay transactions without using PayPal, there are various alternatives.
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Set up your own merchant account. A merchant account is a business bank account that allows you to process credit card payments securely online through your own third-party interface. This is one of the allowed alternative methods of payment acceptance on eBay. Contact the bank through which you have a business or personal bank account and inquire about the types of merchant account programs they offer. Shop around if the initial offer isn't to your liking. Avoid exorbitant set-up fees by comparing offers from various reputable banks and online merchant-account providers. Ensure that your merchant account provides an online interface for your customers to pay for eBay transactions, as well as for you to keep records of your transactions and shipments.
Accept cash on delivery, or c.o.d. If you have a local warehouse or storefront, or you're willing to allow customers to come to your home or place of business to pick up the merchandise, eBay allows you to accept cash in exchange for goods handed over in person. You can also accept c.o.d. if you're willing to deliver the merchandise to the customer's home or place of business. Factor in the cost of in-person delivery into your final auction price.
Register for one of the alternative online payment-transaction services eBay is willing to accept aside from PayPal. These services include ProPay, Moneybookers and Paymate. All of these services work similarly to PayPal. Customers can fund the payment with their bank accounts or credit cards, and merchants transfer the funds into their own bank accounts. Compare the fee structures, services for online auctions and terms of service for each company to determine which one may be right for you.
Tips and warnings
- eBay exempts certain types of auctions, such as car and land auctions, from accepting PayPal payments at all. Check the eBay terms of service for the auctions that eBay exempts from this requirement.
- A good way to gauge what alternative online payment processor may be right for your eBay business is to look carefully at the seller protection services for online auctions. Certain processors offer broader protection than others.
- Give a receipt for cash purchases, preferably with a customer signature indicating that he received the merchandise as described in your auction. Keep a copy for your own records. If the customer decides to tell eBay that you never delivered the merchandise, a detailed receipt may be your best defence and only proof that you delivered the goods.
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