On-line payments for small organisations
Setting up on-line payment systems for small organisations has always been tricky. Merchant accounts to accept credit cards were expensive and complex to set up and on-line programming with shopping basket systems a major headache.
I have being doing some work, initially with the International Hoya group, on a PayPal based system which is extremely easy and economical to set up. It is not necessary for subscribers or people wanting to buy items to have a Paypal account as they can pay with a wide variety of credit cards.
The organisation has to have a business PayPal account set up which is then linked to their Bank account. This is free and can be set up in few minutes by visiting www.paypal.com (or your local countries equivalent). The bank account linking is done by PayPal depositing a couple of small deposits (less than a pound) in your bank account which have to fed back to PayPal to verify your ownership of the account.
PayPal provide free shopping basket software which automatically provides code to link into subscriptions, donations or sales items. All the back end processing is done by PayPal and the funds end up in the organisations PayPal account and can be transferred to the Bank Account when required. The only cost is the usual PayPal percentage which is comparable to the usual credit card processing fees.
I am setting up such a system for the Mesemb Study Group to replace their reliance on our (MACE) Business terminal. The other thing I like about this is that it saves us time entering transactions on the terminal which can be quite slow at times and we don't have the problems which occur with incorrectly supplied credit card data.
I am already talking to a number of other clubs and Societies about setting this up for them. Please let me know if you want to explore this further.
For organisations wanting to take this a step further PayPal provide a 'virtual terminal'. This is in effect a credit card machine on your PC into which you can enter credit card transactions received by fax, phone or snail mail.