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Over the past 4 years, many different companies have offered methods for sending payments to 3rd parties via the internet. This thread offers a starting place for finding information about those alternatives.

Several websites are devoted to discussing pros and cons of various services. The best of these is probably http://www.ccs-digital.com/payments.asp Izzy, who maintains the site, has actively followed the major players for years, and has good contacts with several of them. I make a point to check his updates periodically.

A dated (10/00-3/01) but still interesting FW finance thread on different payment services is at http://www.fatwallet.com/forums/forum.php?catid=18&threadid=9499


Major Credit-card and Bank-account based payment services

Several payment services allow you to send payments via your credit card or bank account. By far the largest of the payment services is paypal.com, which was recently purchased by eBay.com. There are several sites devoted to this payment service in particular. Again, I recommend Izzy's site, this time at http://www.ccs-digital.com/paypal.asp. Some have criticized his work as being too critical of paypal, and of course there are many different perspectives on much that he's reported, but but I find him to be a useful watchdog. He also links to a number of threads where both detractors and defenders of paypal offer useful points.

Other sites that are critical of paypal include http://www.paypalsucks.com/.

UPDATE 10/03: c2it has discontinued their service.
c2it.com has been another popular service, run by Citibank. Their site has been plagued with bugs since it went live. Recently, they began charging buyers 2% fees on each transaction, which will cut down dramatically on the service's popularity. Moreover, some credit card companies have been charging cash advance fees for sending money via c2it. See http://fatwallet.com/forums/forum.php?catid=52&threadid=57801 for a thread discussing this. In addition, one can no longer fund one's c2it account with a credit card as of 2/23/03, removing a popular stratagem whereby users would get card rewards by loading cash from their credit card into their account.

Now that ebay's billpoint has been discontinued, all other services run very far back in the pack. I will add links as new providers come on line, or new questions about older services warrant answering here.


Bank-account based payment services

These providers get less attention, but that may change as more people become wary of problems with credit-card based services and the fees, charge backs, etc. that can accompany them.

Checkfree, the people who handle much of the online bill payment business, have offered several programs. The latest version is at http://ugotmoney.com (thanks DWJoe). It seems that this latest program aims to restrict payments to participating banks and credit unions, listed on the site. Their basic program restricts free payments to 3 each month, 50 cents each after that. Please post with updates on this service.

An earlier version of their service was my favorite service through this spring: validcash.com. Unfortunately, that service was revised to focus on auction payments, and Checkfree added a fee structure for all payments, making them an inferior alternative. I don't have experience with their new product, but would be glad to include others' experiences. A separate thread is devoted to it at
http://fatwallet.com/forums/forum.php?catid=52&threadid=116419



A new entry to this field is the US Postal service. Details on their program are at http://usps.com/paymentservices/pspaymnt.htm (thanks ChaChing.) Unfortunately, FAQ is focused on their bill pay service, so it isn't easy to figure out things like daily limits as of yet. Please post if you have experiences with this payment method.

For a while, Achex.com was the leader in this segment. Then, they stopped doing this: per their web site, "As of February 1, 2002, the ability to send and request email payments was suspended."


Hybrid and other interesting services

A few payment services have taken unique approaches to sending and receiving money. Not surprisingly, some have been better thought out than others. Among the strange was "egold", a payment service that allowed the exchange of gold bullion! On the other hand, some have offered interestingly different products that warrant mention here.

One of these is Ecount, located at https://www.ecount.com/defaultecount.asp. They offer a debit card/email payment hybrid. You can add $500 a day ($1000 a month) and withdraw $1000 a day. Here is their fee structure (from a popup window):

Sign Up Free!
Shop Anywhere Free!
Send $ via email Free!
Receive $ via email Free!
Request $ via email Free!
Add $ via credit card 2.00 per transaction
Withdraw $ via check 2.95 per transaction
Withdraw $ via ATM $1.00 per transaction
Get the ecount Card $6.95 one time fee

NOTE: Buried in the fine print of the FAQ is an option to do a direct deposit WITH NO FEE to the ecount, as well as an ACH withdrawal, ALSO WITH NO FEE. Very nice! For the deposit, log in, go to "add money," then select the "direct deposit" option, then print out the form, which will give you your account number and ACH routing number. For the withdrawal, call customer service and ask for an ACH withdrawal form. You have to mail it in to them, but then you can withdraw up to $9,999 for one $2 fee.

They also seem to have very good customer service. This morning, I called to update my primary email address (I haven't used them in 3 years or so.) They picked up on the first ring, and promptly solved my problem. With the demise of Webcertificate and other temporary debit card options, this alternative bears watching--if only because they are _different._


Please feel free to ask for clarifications or suggest additions. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>


(Updated 10/03 to reflect Checkfree's latest program and the demise of c2it.)

DaveHanson said:

<< Moreover, some credit card companies have been charging cash advance fees for sending money via c2it >>

As of 2/23/03, you cant fund a c2it account with a credit card

While I havent used Ecount.com in a while, I liked them a lot. They may have changed terms, but they are like a constantly refillable Webcertificate///not onyl can you email money, but you can get the debit card or online CC# to make purchases anywhere

Heres my old (outdated) thread: The FREE person-2-person payment site list!

What about all the dead ones, i.e. Beanz, Flooz, etc? or Webcertificate

post updated. SIS, there are some interesting new developments with ecount--I've included them in the post.

OmegaDeal, if we think there's a need to put long-dead payment methods in the FAQ, I'll happily include them--seemed to me it would be moot though.

Thanks for the suggestions all--I changed the c2it info thanks to Alcibiadies.

Nice to see ecount still has accessible customer service (UNLIKE paypal/ebay). The fact that person2-personb transfers are still free and you only need to incur fees upon loading/unloading the account make it a good service people could use as a Paypal alternative.

Also, they give you the "virtual cc#" instantly, so you can easily avoid unload fees by spending the ecount account balance using the virtual cc when shoppin online/on the phone...theres no need to get the physical debit card if you dont want it.

And probably MOST important, I believe you can still have an ecount without providing ANY BANK ACCOUNT INFORMATION!!!! This is very important to many of us, especially those who dont want to go through the hassle of maintaining a "paypal only" bank account. (correct me if they now require bank account info)

I think http://www.ikobo.com/ might be a good one to add to the list, since it's pretty unique. I've never used them.

Another big bank offering inter-customer funds transfer (same fee structure as c2it):

Citibank Global Funds Transfer Service for Consumers

"Citibank North America banking customers using the Citibank(R) Online banking service or at most Citibank ATMs will be able to transfer funds between two Citibank accounts in the U.S., or between a Citibank account in the U.S. and a Banamex account in Mexico or a Citibank account abroad in over a dozen countries. Banamex, the leading bank in Mexico, and Citibank are both members of Citigroup.

During an introductory, promotional period through the end of May, 2003, there will be no transfer fee for Citibank Global Transfers originating in the U.S. Foreign exchange rates, attractively priced at approximately 2% commission over wholesale bank foreign exchange rates, will apply. Following the promotional period, the transaction fee for each transfer domestically and to Mexico will be $5.00. Transfer fees to other countries will be a low $10.00. Transfer fees are the same regardless of the amount being sent. The same foreign exchange rates will apply."

"At this time, transfers from the U.S. are available to Citibank accounts in Mexico (Banamex), Belgium, Germany, Spain, France, the United Kingdom, Greece, Jersey, Monaco, Switzerland, Italy, Luxembourg and India."

Before creating new PayPal threads, please review this FAQ and consider posting on this existing thread! The information can help you protect yourself as a consumer.

Also review these Epinions re PayPal's now-closed X.com "bank"and Epinions re PayPal

what about bidpay and moneymover?? both send money orders to sellers purchaeed by credit cards...






i think ecount could really succeed if they just promoted themselves....they worked better than paypal ever did since they both started in 1998-9!

no fees to receive payments would make it a HUGE hit with eBay sellers, i dont think you need to link any bank account, and the "add funds via CC" fees for buyers are reasonable...if you add $200 at a time via CC, you are only paying 1% fee, and if you use a 1% cashback card, the net cost is 0.

SUCKISSTAPLES said:

<< no fees to receive payments would make it a HUGE hit with eBay sellers, i dont think you need to link any bank account, and the "add funds via CC" fees for buyers are reasonable...if you add $200 at a time via CC, you are only paying 1% fee, and if you use a 1% cashback card, the net cost is 0. >>



So you are saying it should be free for sellers and 1% fror buyers... then how will Ecount make money when they themselves have to pay 1% to visa/mc? this would make them a non-profit organization...

EmptyWallet said:

<< SUCKISSTAPLES said:

<< no fees to receive payments would make it a HUGE hit with eBay sellers, i dont think you need to link any bank account, and the "add funds via CC" fees for buyers are reasonable...if you add $200 at a time via CC, you are only paying 1% fee, and if you use a 1% cashback card, the net cost is 0. >>



So you are saying it should be free for sellers and 1% fror buyers... then how will Ecount make money when they themselves have to pay 1% to visa/mc? this would make them a non-profit organization...
>>



not exactly....is $2 everytime you want to load money into the account...so people who load larger amounts pay less as a %...if you only load $20, the fee is still $2, so ecount would make money off people loading just a little money at a time....PLUS ecount makes money when you spend the money in your account using their virtual or plastic Mastercard #...

allrighty, so i can accept $500 per day and $1000 per month from a credit card with Ecount.com right?

so if i send $500 with one card to person A, and use different card to send $600 to person A in a day, would this work?

and how do i sign up for it!!! ??

SUCKISSTAPLES said:

<< you are only paying 1% fee, and if you use a 1% cashback card, the net cost is 0 >>

Charge posts as a purchase I assume ? www.ecount.com doesnt even have a signup button ?



<< www.ecount.com doesnt even have a signup button ? >>



ditto

ecount looks like it has a brand new website...they show some interesting cards too

heres the signup page

http://www.ecount.com/defaultecount.asp

yes loading the card was charged as a purchase in the past, but i havent used it in awhile

Is ecount dead? It looks like they're only pitching to big businesses now. I can't find any information or link to their sign up for P2P accounts.

Well, I wish OP would also update his first post, and delete some outdate info. USPS.com now offers online payments to anyone with an email address (and bank account?), you can send funds for $1 per transaction or even less ($5.95 upto 15 transactions and $0.50 for each additional one). If anyone can provide more details of the service, please post.

LINK TO USPS.COM 's "SEND MONEY" program

ChaChing, your wish is my command. <img src="i/expressions/face-icon-small-smile.gif"border=0>

Note that ecount still works fine, they've just updated the login link. I also added info about the USPS alternative.

Hey everyone,

Do you guys have experience with Trade Harbour? I am a seller in eBay. My buyer want to use this method to pay with a pda he purchase ( 400 dollar value). I want to make sure that method is reliable and secure on my side. Any thoughts from fatwallet fellows will be appreciated.

Here is the Trade Harbour site:
http://www.trade-harbour.net/aboutus.asp


Thanks

.nihao said:

<< Hey everyone,

Do you guys have experience with Trade Harbour? I am a seller in eBay. My buyer want to use this method to pay with a pda he purchase ( 400 dollar value). I want to make sure that method is reliable and secure on my side. Any thoughts from fatwallet fellows will be appreciated.

Here is the Trade Harbour site:
http://www.trade-harbour.net/aboutus.asp


Thanks
>>


Never heard of it. The whole point of an escrow is to use a service trusted by both seller and buyer. Escrows are excessive for a pda to begin with, but you should agree on one that you can both trust. There ARE fraudulent escrow services that steal your id and merchandise and money. This may not be one, but I wouldn't risk it. eBay suggests using escrow.com for things over $500. If you do risk it, add an entry at http://sos4auctions.com/

does ecount support international payment?
I need to provide international payment method to international buyers on eBay.

Is there a Webcertificate-equivalent for Canadians with a Canadian billing address?

Updated 10/10/03

In addition to Validcash, Checkfree also powers another payment service called ugotmoney. You can only sign up through participating financial institutions, but there do not appear to be any fees beyond those your bank charges for bill payment service (in my case, free).

This is how it works. First, both sender and receiver need to get signed up. The signup process 'registers' your email address with Checkfree and makes it available to other users for payment. If you try to send an email payment to a receiver who isn't signed up, they get an email inviting them to register.

Once you're both signed up, you make an email payment like any other bill payment, except that the payment is scheduled for the same day, not four days hence like other Checkfree bill payments.

I have accounts with two different participating institutions and have tested it. Recipient gets an email notice the same day advising them that the money has been received by Checkfree. Funds are available for withdrawal in the recipient account the next business day. Sweet!

Note that although it is billed as an 'email payment service', the emails are notification only. The actual transfer is bank-to-bank via Checkfree. The only place email comes into play is in registration of your email address with Checkfree and tying it to your bank account (think of this as choosing your electronic payment address).

IMO, this is electronic payment nirvana. No fee, direct bank-to-bank transfer, same day, no fraud, just dealing with your own financial institution's bill payment service. The service is so useful that it could be a reason to open an account at a participating institution.

For eBay sellers, if your buyer doesn't deal with a participating institution, just refer them to validcash.

Am I correct in noticing that paypal is the only one that will let you link a credit card and have transfers treated as purchases which would enable you to, for example, use your 0% intro card to buy a car from a private seller?

Svetac, ecount might allow you to swing this, albeit a bit more laboriously (though perhaps somewhat cheaper.)

BTW, I've had good results with Checkfree's service--thanks for your work on this DWJoe.

Anyone suspect that the fees for PayPal might increase since eBay increased their auction fees?

Just got this email from paypal:

Dear XYZ,

We're writing to let you know that beginning February 12, 2004, PayPal is introducing a new policy that may affect your PayPal Personal Account. The amount your Personal Account will be able to receive will be limited to $1,000.00 USD per month. This limit is designed to ensure a level playing field for all members who sell online. Therefore, only payments received from eBay, auction or website sales will count towards the receiving limit.

Your receiving limit will be reset each month on the anniversary of the date you opened your PayPal account. For example, if you signed up for your PayPal account on August 15, 2002, your receiving limit will be reset on the 15th of each month. If you receive a payment once the limit has been reached, you will be given the opportunity to accept the payment and upgrade to a Premier Account, or to deny the payment.


This limit applies only to the amount of money you can receive — it does not impact the amount of money you can send. To check your receiving limit after February 12, 2004, log in to your PayPal account and click on the View Limits link on the Account Overview page.

With eBay and now paypal making changes, small sellers are going to find the going real tough.

Can a person open more than ONE paypal personal accounts? Does paypal ask for ss# while opening the account? What stops you from opening more than one paypal account?

Thanks for the update aztej.

You can have one personal and one premier account with paypal per person. Despite their rhetoric about "fairness" (LOL), this is obviously a way to collect hefty fees even on transactions that cost them almost nothing (namely EFT.) If they were smart, they'd at least charge a lesser fee for these transactions. Now, there's no incentive for friends to not pay each other with a credit card after they've received $1,000.

Strangely, I got a different email:

<< Personal Account Receiving Limits

Notice Date: January 8, 2004
Effective Date: February 13, 2004

Starting on February 13, 2004, PayPal will begin capping the amount Personal account holders in the U.S., U.K., and Canada are able to receive per month. The cap will be the equivalent of $1,000 USD, based on the Primary Currency of the account. In addition, users will no longer be allowed to split payments between Personal and Premier/Business accounts. Only ecommerce payments received from eBay, auction, or website sales will count towards the receiving limit.
>>



That makes it sound as if only acution or website sales will apply, not non-auction person to person payments...?

What note did others receive?

I got no email, but my Paypal personal account has little or no activity.

bump and link to thread on the new Paypal policy requiring more info from business/Premier users


As I've stated before, I simply cannot understand why people continue to use Paypal. People often believe they wont get as many bids, but i have NOT found that to be true. I offer bidders the option of using a credit card to pay instantly via bidpay.com , sending Cashiers Checks, or Postal Money Orders. This way, I NEVER pay any fees, and if a buyer needs to use a CC, THEY are the ones paying for that service.

As many of you know, I am a CA attorney, and until Paypal makes a significant change to operate like a REAL financial institution (ie REAL customer service, REAL consumer protection, etc), I strongly recommend that NO ONE rely on their services.

If you are determined to use their services, you should not use them for anything more than a small personal account with no bank account links, or linked to only a 0 balance account at at bank where you do NO other banking, until they change their practices for the better.


i wouldnt recommend any of those alternatives...the ones mentioned in this thread are far superior

I'm new to the MBNA checkfree process. I just scheduled my home loan pymt. thru Checkfree & have a question. I had to put in a pymt date,it wouldn't accept the 16th, said it had to be after the 17th, so I put the 18th. Here's my question: Is it feasible for pymt to reach Mortg.comp.before the 18th, or do they hold off paying until the PRECISE date specified?

Thanks everyone for your help!

gracemultiplied said: [Q]I'm new to the MBNA checkfree process. I just scheduled my home loan pymt. thru Checkfree & have a question. I had to put in a pymt date,it wouldn't accept the 16th, said it had to be after the 17th, so I put the 18th. Here's my question: Is it feasible for pymt to reach Mortg.comp.before the 18th, or do they hold off paying until the PRECISE date specified?
This varies by payee, but generally with Checkfree the answer is no. The mtg. co. will probably credit the pmt on the 18th.

OTOH, Checkfree doesn't debit your account until the 18th, period. At least that's been my experience with them over the past two years.

Looks like the USPS online payment services were discontinued as of May 1, 2004. They are now referring customers to CheckFree’s WebPay.

http://usps.com/paymentservices/ops_discontinued.htm

Thanks srenna, I'll update that in the op next edit...



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