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Changing Payment Processors - Tue, 17 Nov 2015

This is why I’m switching from using @BlueSnapInc to @FastSpring to process payments for Behold.

I started about 10 years ago with what was then Plimus. Plimus was founded in 2001. They were a payment processor that would accept payments for Behold on my behalf. They had a nice interface to produce a buy now page that I could easily customize so that it looked just like the Behold site. It accepted credit cards, PayPal, cheques and money orders (which they would manually process) and handled foreign currencies, VAT, refunds and more. There was no setup charge and they charged 10% for each payment processed. If Behold was higher priced, then that percentage would have been less.

Plimus did very well for me over the years. I was happy with them. And then in 2011 the company was acquired by Great Hill Partners in Boston, and bad things were starting to happen. With a class action law suit against them and their name muddied, the company rebranded them in 2013 as BlueSnap.

Okay. I could live with that. It could happen to anyone. As long as the underlying company admits past mistakes and works to improve themselves and regain ground as an honourable corporate citizen, they should be forgiven.

No. They hid everything. They seemed not to be getting better, but getting worse. They no longer were revealing their fees and charges openly. A 2014 report on them was not positive.

My Buy Now page looked like this:

But the real coup de gras for me was what they did, without warning, to their fee structure. I guess 10% per sale wasn’t enough for them. $500 a year on $5,000 obviously doesn’t cover their costs for small merchants like me. So why not add a $75 monthly fee just for people who are grossing less than $2,500 a month. Make a change to the agreement, and require all vendors to sign. Make sure you only mention the fee in the agreement and not in the notice to the vendor. That way, they’ll likely not read it and won’t even notice the extra money you’re pulling out of them for at least a few months. If they don’t sign, then bye-bye. Sign and they’ll now pay $1,400 on $5,000 annual sales. Ummm. That’s like 28% isn’t it?

So did people like this?
BlueSnap $75 a month fee
Plimus / BlueSnap changes for those who use them

Well, this was too much for me as well.

Back in 2009, I had checked out FastSpring, who was then a relative newcomer on the market. I heard good things about them and even set up an account and tried it out. Their rates were a little better, charging only 8.3% on a $40 order. And the thing people liked most about them was their customer service.

But everything was working fine then with Plimus. I didn’t care about the 1.7% difference because back then there was more risk in moving from a stable working environment than to a new not-necessarily better alternative.

Now, however, Plimus–>BlueSnap has dug their own grave. This move is best made now so I won’t have to worry about things later, like others have already done.

The new page Behold Buy Now page functions almost the same as it did before. It’s still a simple, streamlined and secure payment form:


I have had some honest advice that I still shouldn’t be giving away 8.3% of my earnings. I should try the payment system made for developers known as Stripe that has just been taking off among developers. Pricing there on $40 is 3.6%. All the tools are available to process payments however you want. But, it’s a do-it yourself thing that I’d have to put together, and that would divert time from what I really want to do, which is develop Behold. Besides, If I was really worried about “losing” that 4.7% difference, I could just raise the price of Behold to $42. But I’m not, and I don’t have to.

I’ve done enough setup and testing with FastSpring that I’m fairly certain it will work well for me. Purchasers of Behold shouldn’t notice a difference. And if the FastSpring customer service is good and the company sticks around, then it should take over where BlueSnap left off, and serve me well for a long time.

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