Issue #401

Let’s Talk About Paypal Alternatives

In last week’s issue, I railed against Paypal for their move to begin fining people $2500 for instances of “misinformation”. I also called them liars because when they reversed themselves (due to all the pushback), they basically said it was an accident.

Yeah, right. They think we’re stupid? Anyway…

I got a TON of replies to last week’s issue in support of what I said. But, many of them asked me about Paypal alternatives. So, let’s talk about that.

First, I want to be clear…

I will still use Paypal. I just keep a limited balance on the account… which is something I’ve done for a long time anyway. I make regular withdrawals to my bank. Which also happens to be a local credit union since I don’t want to deal with any of the national “big banks” which can and will do the same thing Paypal did.

As an aside, did you see that JP Morgan just “unbanked” Kanye West? Look, I’m no fan of the guy, personally. But, there is just an inherent danger when people can just get cut off from finance for saying something. If you want to know why these companies are so scared of their “reputational risk”, just look into how ESG works. But, I digress.

Obviously, the most obvious Paypal alternative is Stripe. Extremely popular. I know Stripe isn’t perfect, but one thing is that they settle funds to your bank every weekday. They’re not stockpiling it into an account and then acting as if they have rights to it (like Paypal). Stripe has banned accounts before for speech issues, so there have been issues. For instance, they banned Gab from using it. But, Stripe integrates with almost everything and is the most obvious alternative to Paypal for most digital creators.

Speaking of Gab, they have created an alternative called GabPay. It is basically an alternative to Paypal except it is geared specifically toward people who want to steer clear of Paypal. They also offer direct merchant accounts and have integrations with a whole bunch of shopping carts.

There are also a lot of other payment platforms that each have their own selling points. I can’t possibly name them all, but a few of them are:

ClickBank. Very popular for selling information products, and they obviously have a built-in affiliate network with a lot of users.

JVZoo is similar to ClickBank. This solution has come a long way since I first became aware of it.

AlignPay is being developed as a Stripe alternative.

Fastspring is popular among software companies but can also be used to sell digital products.

2Checkout has been around for a really long time, which means it does almost everything and integrates with a ton of software.

Skrill is an option which supports paying by multiple means, including cards, banks, digital wallets and other alternative funding sources.

Square is a pretty direct Stripe competitor. Jack Dorsey is behind this one, for better or for worse. One thing that is interesting, though, is the openness and embrace of crypto which is somewhat promising.

You can always get your own merchant account. There are numerous merchant account providers out there… and there’s a good chance your bank provides one. Then, you can use a payment gateway like  to integrate with any shopping cart you like.

Of course, there is also the option of accepting crypto payments. Things like Bitcoin are naturally censorship-resistant. I wrote a whole article on a couple of popular options for accepting crypto payments on your website.

One thing is for sure, as the centralization of “big tech” and “big finance” are weaponized, the private market WILL devise solutions. A parallel economy is developing and it will continue to grow.

As for Paypal, one option is simply not to offer that as a payment option. Allow people to pay by credit card only and you can use any number of avenues for that, from Stripe all the way to having your own merchant account. Your customers are already used to paying by credit card and they don’t know or care what platform you are using behind the scenes to process it.

Yes, there are other options such as Google Pay, Apply Pay, WePay, etc. But, these options run through “big tech” companies and/or huge global banks and, frankly, I don’t look at that as any improvement over using something like Paypal.

As a final thought on this…

Most everybody reading this is not likely to ever have an issue with any of these companies, including Paypal. Paypal has other issues that warrant caution, but in terms of any fear of censorship, most of us are just not operating the kinds of sites that might lead to such problems. With that in mind, I think it is fair to keep in mind that you want your business to be able to collect money as seamlessly as possible for your customers.

It needs to be easy. Like greased lightning.

And I wouldn’t recommend making it harder on your customers to pay you just because you want to take a stand and use some alternative payment system.

You have to make that call for yourself.

For me, I will use whatever makes it easiest for customers and clients to do business with me. Then, from there, I just manage my money in a way which gives me as much sovereignty as possible.

I keep limited balances on Paypal. I use a credit union for banking. And yes, I do keep money in Bitcoin and in a hardware wallet because nobody controls that other than me.

That’s what I do. You need to do what makes sense for you.

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