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Vol. 1 issue #29 Sep 29, 2002


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Are Third-Party Payment Providers Really A Good Deal?
2002 By Robert Key

Looking for an economical, fast and safe alternative to merchant accounts?  Want something that requires no credit check and no application fee, but offers secure payment acceptance?  Everybody does! These are the primary benefits of using a third-party payment provider (such as ClickBank or PayPal).  However, is it really as good a deal as it seems on the surface?

These payment acceptance companies can offer a great deal of convenience and flexibility to those who want to get up and running quickly.  There are, however, two major drawbacks that you should be aware of before making your decision to opt for a third-party provider over a merchant account... their security and the expense.

Security - Not Of The Payment Process, But Of Your Sales

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One issue that has recently come to light is the security of the links used for making sales.  With many of the third-party payment providers (such as PayPal), it is remarkably easy for a cyber thief (or just an unscrupulous online surfer) to alter or completely delete your sales code.  The result?  They replace your code with their own and swipe your commission right out from under your nose.  You'll have no idea it has happened - you'll just gradually watch your sales dwindle down.

Just as simple is gaining access to your download page, or to your product itself.

Let me state right here that these problems are NOT the fault of the payment acceptance company.  They make every known effort to provide a secure environment for your sales transactions and account information.  However, just as viruses can infect software, cyber thieves can hack into sales links.

Because the links are easily accessible, and because they are even more easily changed, the use of a payment acceptance company can represent a high risk of stolen sales.

The solution?  Find a way to encrypt or hide the code that these sales hijackers are seeking.  This can be accomplished by either hiring a programmer (or scripter) to create a special code for you, or by purchasing software that disguises your code so
hijackers can't recognize it.

Expense - Is It Costing You More Than You Think?

The other concern with third-party companies is the expense. While no set up fee, or a one-time $49.95 set up fee, might sound like a dream come true, be sure you calculate all the costs before making your decision.

If we use an example where the same number of sales are made in a year, most merchant accounts would come out to be less expensive, followed by PayPal, and lastly (and most expensively) ClickBank.

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Many startups, however, can't afford the initial costs of a merchant account.  Also, if you plan to incorporate an affiliate program or online shopping cart into your Web site, the fees for merchant accounts would climb even more.

Third-party payment providers like ClickBank and PayPal offer excellent alternatives that include affiliate tracking and payment, and shopping carts or "buy" buttons.  Definitely worth a look!

The Bottom Line

The decision is ultimately yours.  *Can* third-party payment providers such as PayPal be a better deal than merchant accounts?
Yes!  Depending on your needs, they certainly can be.  However, remember to do two things.  Be very careful to investigate the total cost of doing business with these companies, and look for options for link security to ensure your sales stay YOUR sales.

Robert Key, II is a successful Internet marketer who specializes in helping small businesses market and sell wisely on the 'Net.
To ensure that your payment links are protected from cyber  thieves, visit http://www.paypal-encrypter.com today!

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