How to Use Google Checkout for Your Online Business - dummies

How to Use Google Checkout for Your Online Business

By Greg Holden

Google seems to have a finger in just about every pie when it comes to e-commerce. Payments are no exception. Google Checkout is a convenient and safe way to pay online.

The process of signing up for Google Checkout is relatively easy because you probably already have a Google password to check your Gmail or perform other services with Google. If you don’t, just go to the Google Checkout home page and click Sign Up Now to obtain one.

Google Checkout was originally seen as a quick payment system for Google itself. If you saw something on a Google search results page and wanted to buy it, you could do so immediately through Google Checkout. But the service also functions as a full-fledged payment system much like PayPal: You sign up for Google Checkout and add “buy” buttons to your sale pages.

Buyers can then click these buttons and pay you through Google Checkout. The service registers buyers and their credit card accounts, as well as sellers and their account information. Google Checkout receives payments and passes them on to sellers, and for its efforts, it subtracts a discount rate.

Currently, the rate stands at 2.9 percent plus a 30-cent fee for a purchase under $3,000. Rates are lower for purchases of higher amounts. This is virtually the same as PayPal’s rate, at this writing.

One big difference between Google Checkout and PayPal is in the method of payment. Google Checkout accepts only credit card payments. PayPal, on the other hand, also allows withdrawals from bank accounts as well as “eChecks” (payments taken from a buyer’s checking account and deposited in the seller’s account after a suitable time for the “check” to clear).

Another difference between Google Checkout and PayPal is customer service. You can reach a PayPal service person on the phone, but you can’t reach Google Checkout this way.

An article on CNET reported on problems with recurring payments not being processed by Google Checkout for weeks at a time. Trying to reach a human being at Google to discuss the problems seems nearly impossible for the average merchant.

On the plus side, Google Checkout is integrated with Google’s popular AdWords system. If you have an active AdWords account, your discount rate is lowered.

An article on the EcommerceBytes website indicates that there may be another advantage to accepting Google Checkout on your website. If you receive payments and then get positive rankings from your customers, you’ll get better search placement for your site on Google.