Allowing Your Users to Give Back- Alternatives to PayPal

Update: Added in WePay. Thanks for the suggestions, and keep ‘em coming!

While PayPal has done a lot in the way of providing small businesses and individuals a means to accept cash donations and payments, you can’t argue that choice is good for everybody. Keeping this in mind, I wanted to share some alternatives for you project leads out there, if you or your project team accepts donations from users.

we_pay_logo

WePay is a good tool to use if you want a group to have access to the money you’re collecting.

Pros:
-Easy to use interface
-Users only need a credit card or bank account to donate; no other account is necessary
-Easy widgets allow you to integrate donations with existing sites or social sites like Facebook & Twitter
-All money is insured by the FDIC, so it has an added level of trust

Cons:
-WePay collects 3.5% of all transactions
-Currently, payments from outside the USA are not allowed

flattr-logo-beta

With Flattr, your end users create an account, deposit money in the account, and then at the end of the month, the funds are divided amongst all the things they “flattr-ed.” In essence, it’s an easy way for them to give back to all the causes they support in one shot.

Pros:
-Recurring payments mean an easy way to keep donations coming in on a monthly basis.
-Easy to use interface

Cons:
-Users have to create an account at Flattr, and keep adding money to their account to keep it going.
-Although the Flattr network is growing, it’s still relatively small, and users may be reticent to trust them with their money.
-The more causes are “flattr-ed” by a user, the less money will go to each cause. Everything is divided evenly from the user’s account.
-Flattr takes a flat 10% of all transactions.

pledgie_logo

Pledgie is another way for people to donate to your cause.

Pros:
-Pledgie is 100% free.
-The Pledgie badge on your site can be used with a target, thus enticing people to help push you to your goal.
-Users do not need Pledgie accounts to donate; anyone can give you money.
-You do not need to be a legally registered non-profit organization to accept payments.

Cons:
-You need a PayPal account if you want to accept donations online; it’s how they get money to you.

ap-hlogo-215x35

For a while now, Amazon has given online merchants a way to receive payments, but you might not know that they have also opened it up to other organizations and individuals.

Pros:
-Amazon is a well-known & respected entity, so users will feel confident using them to give you cash donations.

Cons:
-If you are in the US and are not a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, both you and your user must have Amazon accounts in order to use their personal WebPay services.
-On the other hand, if you are accepting donations through your non-profit status, be warned that Amazon takes a percent of all cash transactions.

google_checkout_logo

If Google hasn’t scared you off with the whole “taking over the world” thing, they do have a payments system you might be able to use. It appears that this is not for person-to-person transactions, however.

Pros:
-Most people have heard of Google checkout by now, so your users should feel relatively comfortable entering their payment info.

Cons:
-You must have 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(6) non-profit status in the US to use it.
-Google also takes a percent of all cash transactions.

In Kind Gifts
sf_gift

If you’d rather cite specific needs or wants that you have, why not create a wish list? You could of course, use Amazon, but more and more sites are providing this functionality. For instance, ThinkGeek, Newegg and Tiger Direct all allow you to create wish lists. Giving users a specific idea of something you could use that would make your life easier is a great alternative to a cash donation, and allows them to give back to you.

I’d like to know if I’ve missed any alternatives, or what you guys are using, if not PayPal. Do you have any experiences with these services, either good or bad? We’d love to hear about them!

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