Online payment process is a convenient alternative to making payments by cash or check. Online payment services are quite different since they do not require businesses to have accounts with them to make a payment or transact business. The payment process through online services is much faster and secure than traditional modes of payment. They use a secure electronic fund transfer system to settle transactions.
The services are particularly popular among online auction sites and online stores. It has been around long enough to be accepted as a safe and trusted way of paying for online purchases. While there are many advantages of using an online service to conduct business, they do have some loopholes and drawbacks that are sometimes exploited by unscrupulous elements.
The services use a very simple process to transfer funds. Buyers and sellers are required to provide the required information such as their name, email address, checking account information and credit card details. Checking account information is usually asked for, confirming the identification of the user. To pay the seller, the buyer has to enter the valid email address of the recipient and the amount that is to be sent. In case the recipient is not a registered member of the payment service provider, they get an email that directs them to the process of claiming the transferred funds. They are either paid by a check or the funds are transferred to their bank account.
Payment services charge their client a small percentage of the transacted amount as fees or service charges to take care of their expenses and overhead. These fees are less compared to what they would pay for using a credit card merchant account. Another advantage is that these services can be used for making small payments over frequent periods such as customer discounts, commissions and rewarding affiliates.
There are some drawbacks of the system. Many online service providers impose limits on the number of transactions that you can carry out on daily/weekly basis. Businesses that exceed the limit imposed are required to pay premium charges or additional fees to continue doing transactions. In the long run, this can lower the profits earned by the business.
Online payment services are not governed by the rules and regulations that are binding on federal institutions and banks. Consequently, they are not protected by federal deposit insurance. Such services offer their customers less protection against frauds as compared to credit card companies. For example, the maximum protection that online payment service provider PayPal offers for any fraud committed or for non-deliverance of goods is a mere $200.
Online payment services are quick to freeze accounts of clients if they suspect fraud or some type of fraudulent activity in transaction. Resolving such issues may force the users into a legal tangle resulting in huge losses, not only because of revenues and goods lost, but also because of additional costs incurred in fighting the case legally.
Most online payment services are issued a web privacy seal right, which indicates that they follow certain privacy and security guidelines to protect consumers’ interests.