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What are your experiences with payment providers?

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I have been setting up accounts with several different payment providers so that I can charge for my .Net licensing solution (part of the NANY challenge for 2012)

So far I have signed up with PayPal (who hasn't), FastSpring, Kagi and Share-It. I have only had time to set things up with PayPal and FastSpring properly so far. These are some of my observations for those two and some initial reflections on Kagi.


* Very clunky tax handling which is not optimal for EU companies. I need to allow my clients to enter a VAT number and have the payment provider figure out what to do. PayPal doesn't seem to support that at all?
* No tax support at all for subscriptions with PayPal - which basically makes this a no go for EU companies.
* Possible affiliate support if you do split payments and set everything up yourself, which seems very difficult and error prone...
* Supports instant payment notifications.
* Nice clean professional payment user interface for end users, certain modification of the UI (logo etc) are possible.
* Does not support coupon codes?
* Does not have application integration (for selling/donating) directly within application, only via links to Paypal.   


* Automatic handling of taxes (inlcuding EU vat)
* Supports subscriptions with taxes.
* Does not support affiliates as far as I can see other than if you contact them direct to have split payment set up.
* Supports instant payment notifications.
* Not such an attractive user interface for end users when they purchase - input elements are too small for data (VAT nr for instance). Not so modern colors... Seems to support advanced modifications of the UI using custom css though.
* Supports coupon codes and special offers in several different ways.
* Allows purchase UI to be integrated directly into windows applications
Kagi - I have not set up a full product with Kagi yet but these are some initial observations.

* Automatic handling of taxes (inlcuding EU vat)
* Support for affiliates and partner splits also (as far as I can tell)
* Supports instant payment notifications.
* Haven't looked at the payment UI yet...
* Allows purchase UI to be integrated directly into windows applicationsAbout a week after I signed up for Kagi i received a strange email from what appears to be the Vice President of Sales at Kagi someone I had not been in touch with previously. The email simply contained "Are you going to use your Kagi store ?", no preamble, no contact info or name (only in the from field of the email), no indication as to what the objective of the email was. If you have been using Kagi is this indicative of their customer and seller support?

What are your experiences with these and other payment providers? Particularly I would be interested to hear what their customer support is like...

Carol Haynes:
Are you using shopping cart software or just a single button?

If you are using a shopping cart system why not use a cart that supports tax rates and coupons, or supports different user gorups - public and business and have a discount on business transactions that reflects the no tax price?

I personally think a shopping cart is an unnecessary step for buying or donating to software. Once someone indicates that they want to offer you money they should be taken to the actual payment step with as few intervening pages/steps as possible. Both Paypal and FastSpring support going directly to a payment page through links, I believe that Kagi and Share-it also offer direct-to-purchase links.

Digital River has a huge variety of solutions for software authors. One of them should fit the bill pretty well.

I've used Share-It, RegNow and I forget what else -- they all seemed pretty good.

Avangate is another to check out.

There are many more as well -- Cleverbridge has a client, which is nice. (Or they had a client last I looked.)

Northstar (Northwood?) is a smaller one, but the owner, Jeff, really goes out of his way to help people.

I keep hearing horrible things about Plimus - they seem to go down a lot. But, they're also very popular.

PayPal is one of the most versatile, but you really need to do a LOT of work to get it done right.

After trying to use PayPal as my initial provider, I would probably say that it is so much work that it isn't even worth it... The issue of not handling EU VAT is a major oversight by PayPal unless it's there and I just haven't found the right settings...

Thanks for the additional providers, had a look at a few of them.

Cleverbridge - they don't disclose pricing or allow you to sign-up without contacting a sales rep...

NorthStar solutions - offer self sign-up and a couple of demo pages to get a feel for it.

Plimus - their site looks real nice... Simple pricing structure.


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