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What are your experiences with payment providers?

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I've used FastSpring for 2+ years now.  When I signed up they offered, at no charge, to customize the payment screen to make it look more like my web pages.  They were also willing to do some free tailoring of the customer notification email.  They have handled all taxes and currency conversions.  Their service has been fast and reliable.

Customer service is responsive and I've never had unpleasant surprises that I could attribute to FastSpring.

There are two pricing plans - one is a straight 8.9%, the other is 5.9% plus ninety five cents.

I like 'em.

@wraith808 - I haven't contacted the directly but I have read several feature requests on the PayPal developer site referring to VAT support and Paypal have responded to some of them with a "we are not currently looking at offering this" kind of answer.

@mrainey - good to hear the you ar satisfied. I am going to look into what is possible with the CSS. It just feels a bit weird that they don't default to a nice looking neutral white (ala PayPal et al) payment page, instead they have a muddy-brown-grey default background.

@tomos & Carol Haynes
I could offer a VAT invoice/receipt manually which is something I do monthly for my regular consulting business (I have a company in Sweden). But the consulting work I do requires 1-4 invoices per month to other Swedish companies so the VAT aspect is trivial I charge it and pay it to the Swedish government and they then claim it back. But for e-commerce the situation becomes more complicated - there are five scenarios that I have to handle.

1. Non-VAT registered within the EU: Private person or registered company not requesting VAT-free purchase. I am required to add the Swedish VAT to what I charge and pay it to the Swedish tax-authority.
2. EU company claiming VAT-free purchase (valid VAT-nr): I am required to verify that they have a valid VAT-registration number then I should not add VAT - but in my accounting I need to add the VAT (separately) as if I had charged it and then get the VAT debt cancelled - since I never actually got that money I don't need to pay it to the tax-authority.
3. EU company claiming VAT-free purchase (invalid VAT-nr): If the VAT-nr does not check out, then I must add Swedish VAT and pay that to the tax-authority. The foreign company can then request a refund of the VAT from the swedish tax authority.
4. Swedish company: I am required to add the Swedish VAT to what I charge even if they request a VAT-free purchase with a valid EU-VAT number
5. Non EU company or person: I should not add VAT for sales to people or companies who are outside the EU. I believe that I do not need to add then deduct VAT in my accounting but I do need to hand in a quartely statement of how much I have sold outside the EU.

Even at very small volumes staying within the tax laws using a payment provider like Paypal with no support for checking VAT numbers etc where I have to issue different receipts for the same product depending on what I can find out manually is just out of the question. Or I could create my own automated PayPal VAT checking solution but that is just too much work considering there are other providers who handle this for me and then just send me a monthly statement with info I need for my book-keeping.

Carol Haynes:
Actually it boils down to three options:

1) Inside EU - individuals or non-VAT registered.
2) Valid EU VAT registered company
3) Outside EU

From the form people complete on your website the EU/non-EU status is easily determined. Just check the country of origin.

The VAT status is easy enough to check automatically. Just use the script I pointed to in my last post.

Only apply a VAT rating for people in category 1 - calculate it before you submit the form to PayPal or any other processor. If the VAT registered test fails don't accept the order until they check the VAT ID or remove it.

All of this can be automated by a script on the order page so you don't generate unnecessary paperwork and delivery can be automatic.

I use plimus/fastspring
People that use paypal go for e-junkie, but I'm not sure if it does VAT properly


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