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Alternative eBay Electronic Payment Options

eBay allows buyers to pay in several ways, and although PayPal is the most common payment method, other options are available. Person-to-person payment systems allow buyers to authorize payments from their credit cards or checking accounts directly to the seller. These services make money by charging percentages and fees for each transaction. It all happens electronically through an automated clearinghouse, which means no fuss, no muss for you. The payment service releases to the seller only the buyer's shipping information; all personal credit card information is kept private. This speeds up the time it takes the buyer to get merchandise because sellers are free to ship as soon as the service lets them know that the buyer has made payment and the payment has been processed.

From the seller's point of view, person-to-person payment service transaction fees are lower than the 2.5 to 3.5 percent (per transaction) fee that traditional credit card companies charge for merchant accounts. Even traditional retailers may switch their online business to these services to save money.

Before you decide which credit card payment service to use, get out your calculator and check the company websites for current rates. Calculate your own estimates; don't rely on a site's advertised samples. Some charts on the web leave out certain minor fees. Watch out for the fine print and do your own math.

When you pay the fee to your payment service, realize that the total amount of your transaction — including shipping fees, handling charges, and any sales tax that you charge — incurs a fee. The payment service charges a percentage based on the total dollar amount that's run through its system.

eBay's approved payment providers are

  • ProPay: ProPay requires an annual $5 signup fee and has low transaction fees based on your PowerSeller ranking on eBay:

    • Bronze PowerSeller: 3.1% and $0.30 USD

    • Silver PowerSeller: 2.7% and $0.30 USD

    • Gold PowerSeller: 2.4% and $0.30 USD

    • Platinum PowerSeller: 2.4% and $0.30 USD

  • Skrill (formerly Moneybookers): Popular with international sellers, this payment service is based in the U.K., and payments are figured in Euros.

  • Paymate: Based in Australia, Paymate enables international payments. As of the date of this writing, it does not publish its transaction fees.

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