Sunday, 1 November 2009

Online Payment Systems

Online stores are public Internet web applications. They allow people to find information about a set of products, and order them for delivery. Checkout and payments is a pretty standard use case regardless of the product, and there are all kinds of nasty security issues which could be got wrong. These two points alone justify using a third party, 'hosted' checkout service rather than growing your own, especially for a smallish site.

This blog article makes another point, in relation to Amazon's experience in the early days of web shopping in the nineties:
observation at the time was that many customers repeatedly pay with same payment method and the same ship-to address. By keeping them on file, and establishing clear defaults, Amazon could shorten the purchase process

Kind of obvious, but it relies on a network effect, or economy of scale- in that you are using the same platform across many different product purchases. Again, for a small site this is another reason to use a third party payment platform.

I will take a look at the options as per today, with the following requirements, which are appropriate for the kinds of thing I am trying to do:
  • Limited in scope - i.e. I want a framework which can assist with checkout and payments, not a full stack e-commerce solution.
  • Adoption - i.e. how much can we benefit from the network effect - i.e. how many people already are subscribed to the platform.
  • Simplicity - of API and to signup.
  • Cost.
Google Checkout

Amazon Payments


:post in progress:

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