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Read this today, much needed different view on (online) payments.

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    There’s about zero percent chance I buy anything with a wire transfer. They can’t be reversed, which is exactly why I don’t have them enabled on my online account. If I’m going to get on a train for an hour to visit my bank, you’d better be selling me the moon and more. I’ll happily trade the indignity of running a little proprietary JavaScript to avoid that inconvenience.

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      Yeah, that was my thought. No way in hell am I ordering something with a wire transfer. That’s such a common scam that Craigslist, Ebay and the like explicitly warn about it!

      I mean, yeah, the credit card processors all suck, PCI compliance is both painful and useless, etc., etc. I get all that. But I’m not dropping money in a random hole in the hope that whoever’s at the other end mails me something. I’m just not. There are conflicting principles here, and my principle of not getting scammed comes infinitely above caring about seller welfare.

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        That’s a good point. This explicitly defies security advice about wire transfers in online purchased. At least, will to many lay people. We gotta stay consistent.

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        Indeed. Half the complaints seem to be about PayPal charging more than other processors - in that case why not use one of those other processors? The only way I’m paying for stuff online is credit card.

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          I was waiting for the list of alternatives, too. I think they don’t want to be at the mercy of or paying fees to any processor outside their bank. That’s what Im getting.

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            Wire transfers are irreversible by design. What country offers free reversible transfers? That’s basically impossible as far as I can see, because somebody has to carry the credit risk and they’re gonna need to get paid for it.

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          This isn’t even a much different view these days. PayPal is like Comcast: it’s terrible, everyone hates it, but sometimes it’s a necessary evil to doing business. Many customers even hate it too, but they trust it more than handing over their credit card to a website they haven’t done business with before.

          I can’t imagine Minifree does more than a handful of laptop sales per year, and their customers are all probably technically savvy/curmudgeonly enough to know all about PayPal’s problems already. For them it’s easy to refuse PayPal and force that handful of people to use something else.

          By the way, if you do have to accept PayPal to sell things rather often, you can enable auto-sweep on your account to automatically transfer any funds to your bank account every day. This way you limit your exposure to PayPal freezing your account or automatically pulling money from it in response to some bullshit complaint. Obviously PayPal would prefer you keep all your money with them, so there’s no option to enable this on their website, you have to call them and tell them to do it.

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            I own a B2B business and take payments directly into the (Irish) company current account.

            One thing I’ve found is that most transfers from the US will have between €6 and €30 mysteriously missing from them due to bank fees. I have this covered in my standard contract, but it is a bit of a pain to deal with.

            It has worked fine from every other country I’ve invoiced, both EU and non-EU. The only thing to be aware of is that the SWIFT code and the BIC are the same thing, and since I added that titbit to my invoices it hasn’t come up since.

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              International wire transfer usually has an associated charge (usually between $10 and $50), but it’s charged by the receiving bank. This means that the sender has to know about the relationship between their bank and your bank to add the appropriate amount, or they need to instruct their bank to revert all fees to the sender (usually a separate option in the user-interface).

              I generally don’t have to worry so much about $50 missing on an invoice, and simply include it in the next invoice.

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                My bank has no special charge for receiving transfers, as long as they’re in Euros.

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                  I lost 80$ this summer on 400$ invoice when money moved from US bank to mine (Slovenia, EU). My bank assures me they didn’t skim anything.

                  In practice I don’t really care which bank in chain did (apparently 40$ was taken by sender’s bank and other 40$ somewhere along the way), but it did make PayPal’s rate comparatively wonderful.

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                From a customer point of view wire transfers are the worst experience imaginable and only a slight improvement upon mailing coins per snailmail:

                • It’s not possible to include the payment into the checkout process, so you have to take the bunch of numbers (sellers banking number, amount, transaction number to match your purchase) into your banking UI, get a TAN of some sort, send it.
                • It’s not possible to get immediate confirmation of payment and since SEPA transactions take about 2 bank working days (bank computers have to sleep during weekends as well!) it might end up taking 4 days for the payment to reach the seller and for them to start shipping. Sofortüberweisung.de (a service which logs into your online banking for you and transfers money, guaranteeing the seller that the money was transferred) is weird and shady but they are solving an actual problem that banks so far couldn’t be bothered to fix
                • I’m not even sure how to transfer money in foreign currencies (I either wire € or use my credit card for any other currency) and wiring money to e.g. Japan for example requires the postal address of the local bank office and even then the transaction costs are intransparent and massive (e.g. 30€ for transferring 400€)
                • Chargebacks are tricky if at all possible

                So in theory, it’s cool that wire transfers don’t need any intermediates like credit card companies and payment processors, but in practice I try to avoid them.

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                  Is this the impetus for a new kind of payment system?

                  Taking credit cards is onerous, not just on the record-keeping front, but also on the audit and process management. I don’t believe it’s undue, but it’s certainly a lot harder than an international wire/bank transfer.

                  However PayPal isn’t evil. They don’t piss anyone off more than they (feel they) absolutely have to because harming goodwill is not good for business, so if we want to actually solve this, we need to figure out why they (feel like they) need to be so damned difficult.

                  Is it that they aren’t able to receive (enough) insurance on their transactions, that they need to take such an active role in policing their transactions? Are their users inherently less prudent, but require the same level of security as they get from their credit cards? If so, then competition may be the solution.

                  Or is it already competition is so fierce, that PayPal needs to take an active role in reducing risk in order to be competitive? If so, then regulation may be the solution.

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                    I will go out of my way to business with people who use ACH transfers. You want the customer at the end of the day but you should not have to sacrifice margins. Paypal and the large credit card companies are after the convenience crowd so the Dwolla/ACH route will need to be incentivized for people to take the time to move away from the easier processes. It is not directly the consumer’s money which is the only reason these payment providers do so well.

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                      These days, most banks also provide their customers with a method to initiate wire transfers online, so it is virtually the same convenience-wise as debit/credit cards, while being much more secure.

                      It used to not be this easy. Banks were behind in tech. Now that they’ve caught up, maybe it will lead to PayPal’s death.

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                        We can only hope :) I don’t even wish their death, just more competition making PayPal better for customers and merchants would be great.

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                          The introduction of IBAN and not having to pay fees to transfer money helps a lot indeed.

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                          They’re also overlooking the fact that a credit card in America is more secure. Reason being I can use a prepaid card or just report fraud I see in online charges. I can also do a stop payment if merchant screws me. The 1-4% can be added to seller’s price. The Javascript can be sandboxed or even run on a cheap, dedicated machine. One can also dedicate a card to transactions with unknown suppliers do problems with it dont affect main card.

                          I’m not buying a PC with a wire transfer in 2016 given the combo of convenience and security I have from a credit card.

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                            I gave up on Paypal. They blocked my account, and now expect me to spend hours with their support for the great honor of using their service. No thank you, no more Paypal for me.

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                              They did that to me, at a time when I had roughly a $200 balance in it. It was for trans-specific reasons; my eBay name didn’t match my PayPal name because I was in the middle of having it legally changed. I ultimately provided all the requisite court paperwork, and they basically said they intended to keep my money anyway and would not process an appeal. Their representatives were extremely rude on the phone.

                              So I refunded the money to the buyer, deleted the account, and made a new one in my new name. They didn’t even ask for proof of identity to do that.

                              I use any other payment processor in preference, and I will never again attempt to receive money through them, but unfortunately it isn’t always possible to avoid using them to send money. It may not be healthy to feel personal anger towards a large company, but I don’t have it in me to think kind things about PayPal.