Question about online payment systems

Tonight i came across this video about the problems that Minnie Small was having with PayPal,

I’ve also been reading about the payment problems Naomi Wu was having with Patreon, after getting into an argument with Vice Media about an article they wrote about her,

She’s worth following as she has a lot of useful advice about how things are done in Shenzhen,

Vice Media sent in a lawyer’s letter to Patreon, and had her account frozen. It’s still in dispute, so she can’t access any of her money.

One thing that both, Naomi Wu, and Minnie Small, have in common, is that they do not rely upon a single source of income, so have been able to keep their heads above water while the disputes are taking place.

This is an excellent MUST-HAVE for every business, so as not to get shafted.

While i can use duckduckgo as well as anybody else, to find alternatives, i was wondering what other payment processors that the CoTech members have tried.

Could you tell us what your experiences have been like?

By and large I’d say they all pretty much of a muchness. A few years ago I came across who offer a service specifically for non-profits (I have a number of clients who are charities) and they have a pre-exisitng integration with CiviCRM. Didn’t use them in the end, but might be worth considering.

Most people seems to use Stripe these days, no? and/ or PayPal and GoCardless too.

I like GoCardless because it makes it easy to do online direct debits, but apparently the Stripe APIs are better etc.

I have all three set-up in a WooCommerce-powered shop I created recently.

One thing that i should make clear: I suffered from ID theft back in 2000/2001, and the one of the things that i found was important when dealing with this, was to avoid direct debits.

In order to make payments over the internet, i use a pre-paid credit-card, that i charge up with money before i make payments. This means that i can’t lose any more money than is held on the card.

Yes, it’s insured under the credit-card’s insurance, so i would be able to get the cash back eventually, but you’re still out of pocket while it’s being sorted out.

This method of avoiding fraud, can make things a little more inconvenient in the short-term, but it’s way better than having to deal with the longer-term inconveniences caused by fraud.

Interesting, why?

I’ve always found people’s reluctance to use GoCardless (because you have to give it bank account details as opposed to card details totally backwards - what can I do with bank details other than give you money? whereas very easy to use card details for fraud).

If you’ve ever had a dispute with a utility company about the size of your bill, then you’ll know why i’m saying this.

Yes, you will get the money back eventually, but they won’t compensate you for the interest that you’ve lost, or the other things that you were not able to do, because they had your money.

Direct Debits are basically giving someone else explicit permission to loot your bank account.

If you need to perform BACS transfers, you’re much safer using Standing Orders, as they are a Push mechanism controlled by you, rather than a Pull mechanism controlled by someone else.

Anyone else have a thing they actually like?

I need to build a donation page that (ideally) will take both one off donations and subscriptions.

It’s for a political group with some enemies (surprisingly) so it would be good it the organisation wasn’t on the wrong side, so to speak.

Caveat: I haven’t used their services yet, so i cannot comment on how well they work, but have a look at

They seem to work within a framework that might suit.

Thanks @BillySmith

Looks good, but the organisation in question are a campaigning organisation, rather than makers who I believe the platform is aimed at.

The Vice/Wu thing seems pretty unbelieveable!

Surely the point is that it is an open source platform so perhaps it could be re-purposed/ skinned to work for campaigning organisations too?

Saying that, it doesn’t do one-off donations, only recurring payments, and at present only does € and $ too.

Huh? What is this a reference to?

We use Braintree for debit/credit card payments it’s got a great API and no fees on first £30,000 of payments, we also use PayPal, gocardless and coingate for bitcoin payments.

Is that a special deal you’ve negotiated @liam? as it doesn’t look like their standard pricing

@jdaviescoates Apologies it would appear it was an offer to new customers when we signed up, however the rates are decent, we also have a virtual terminal that links in via API to process payments

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If you want to do a quick (but imho good) hack using Wordpress and a plugin see :slight_smile:

This is more about your choice of provider and their inability to understand what customer service is, than it is about direct debits per se. As I read it, the direct debit guarantee puts you in control, and you can stop payments at any time.

It just so happens that I have some experience with a few payments providers. All of what I’m posting is public knowledge but this is just a convenient summary for you. Now the first thing I’d like to say is that there are no major providers who conform to anything approaching co-operative values, so that’s out the window to begin with.

What you have to understand is that things like PayPal and Stripe started out basically as shiny wrappers around VISA, Mastercard, American Express, etc. and the business model works basically by skimming some off the top at each level, with revenue sharing models between all of the organisations involved with organisations further down the hierarchy getting progressively less out of it - GoCardless and Stripe’s direct debit system are a bit different and instead I imagine work with different banks.

The problem, of course, is then to get away from that model, you’d basically have to build something from scratch which directly interacts with Credit Unions which are more often than not, not particularly technologically advanced. Given that this isn’t even remotely practical at the moment, here’s an outline of payments systems as they stand from my experience:

With that aside, our best experience so far has been with Stripe. It has a reasonably good API and the testing environment is pretty solid. The ‘model’ is a bit crazy when it comes to some things where objects like charges and refunds end up being nested in slightly peculiar ways, but it’s nothing you can’t work around. They have some SDKs for some languages which are very helpful.

PayPal has serious pain points, like the sandbox environment sometimes takes hours to update payments which can make testing refunds a nightmare. PayPal also has a bit of a nasty reputation for how they treated sellers on some websites and on eBay although it does have pretty amazing marketshare and quite good consumer confidence as a result.

GoCardless is solid if you want something with direct debits. The API is as good or better than Stripe’s. I have less experience with it, though.

It’s probably worth noting that if you want to support both PayPal and Stripe, you’ve got a bit of figuring out to do as they both insist on being listed first.

This is true, although the counter to this is that a direct debit mandate allows a company to pull any amount of money out of your account at any time. While the direct debit guarantee means that you should be able to get it back with the banks who are in that system (I’m pretty sure they all are in the UK), it’s still likely to give you a big headache if a bad actor chooses to pull out a large amount that you weren’t expecting. I’d guess that you can get into a grey area with fines and the like - for instance you aren’t able to invoke the direct debit guarantee in the case that you run up a large phone bill and this is because the payment wasn’t taken in error.