back to article Google jacks up fees for Checkout service

Google has pissed off online merchants who use its Checkout service by upping the fees it charges for the online payment service. Rival service PayPal has been heavily criticised for upping fees and for aggressively "encouraging" its use on eBay - Australian eBay sellers could only take payment via PayPal until the company …


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  1. Whitter
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    Pigs in mud

    eBay will be laughing all the way to the bank (a.k.a. PayPal) after this mindless choice.

    A classic high-quality bit of work from a boardroom no doubt full of "excellent people" who all deserve their huge renumeration packages...

  2. John Stirling

    Correct me if I'm wrong,

    but Google checkout and Paypal are commercial services?

    Provided they are not colluding in a cartel then they are free to price the service as they like, and their customers are free to choose whether to use it or not.

    If the new fee level generates excessive profits then a new entrant (or existing player) will undercut them. If instead this is a commercially realistic price then customers have to conduct a cost benefit analysis on whether it is worth using the service.

    Until a new entrant (or existing player) determines how to offer the service at lower cost to themselves, so with the ability to offer sustainably lower prices, or decides to buy a book of business before ramping charges up to a commercially sustainable level (which is what it sounds like Google has done here).

    Sure, a recession is underway, but even in a recession Google has no obligation, moral or legal, to offer services at below cost just to be 'nice'.

    I am neither an adwords nor google check out user, so have no emotional attachment to these services.

  3. Andy ORourke

    Google is a BUSINESS

    It gave great deals to sucker everyone into switching from PayPal, gets loads of users and then........... Charges go up. Didn't see that coming you must be Fu$king thick

    Look, its like this:

    10 A company starts up and offers something really great at a good price

    20 The shareholders see a decent return

    30 The money men (analists (sic)) demand greater returns

    40 The company puts up prices, lose a few customers but overall brings in more profits

    50 The shareholders see a better return

    60 The money men demand greater returns

    70 GOTO 20

  4. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse

    And there folks...

    In a nutshell, is the problem of putting all of your commercial eggs in one basket.

    You were lured in like a fish and are now at the whimsy of a faceless corporation to be put over a barrel and right royally fu**ed whenever they deem so.

  5. jon

    Do More Evil

    yay for business :D Don't take it personally, its a business eat business world out there and consumers and small businesses are at the bottom of the food chain.

  6. Anonymous Coward
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    is it just me

    is it just me, or is Google becoming more like Microsoft? Why don't they just merge into Microogle?

  7. Liam Thom
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    That's only the half of it

    Google have not only been penny pinching brutes, they have been devilishly cunning with it.

    Your payment scale is based on the previous month, so you pay less if you had a good month previously. Therefore, unless your turnover is constant throughout the year you are always paying different rates.

    Say month 1 is a good month and you turnover enough to get the good rates the following month, next month you sell very little; you don't pay Google much per transaction but there are not many transactions. In month 3 you do really well but you have to pay the rate relating to month 2: which is high per transaction - and there are lots of transactions. In a fluctuating market you are generally paying out more than if there was a fixed rate.

    You have to think about it, and I am sure Google have, but the fees will work out substantially higher over the course of a year. The only way to beat the system is to start with a high turnover and work your way down. But that could involve bankruptcy.

  8. Richard C.
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    So why should we use Google Checkout?

    The advantages for offering Google checkout used to be clear: lower transaction fees and you could offset any fees against Google Adwords. This made up for the fact you had to spend longer on integration, had less flexibility, had to purchase an SSL certificate (Paypal you don't) and you split payments across multiple processors.

    Now the pricing is the same as Paypal (and, taking into account cross-border fees, is actually more expensive then Paypal! Bad luck for any UK sellers selling to Europe or Eire!), there appears to be absolutely no benefit to offer Google Checkout: in fact, if you drop it and just offer Paypal (which has a larger market penetration, easier to use and offers a variety of integration methods), you can then take into account Paypal's discount fees (which Google have exactly matched).

    Some people have expressed on my blog at the fact they think Google is trying to "kill off checkout": it hasn't been a huge success, hasn't launched in all countries, and it appears to have no benefits over other services now.

  9. paul
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    Was thinking about using it - not now

    Price hikes - I've just lost interest in deploying the service. Paypal is used just because people are familar with the name.

    Proper websites use a proper payment provider - with people on call who can help you. Not paypal or google checkout - i would expect these to resolve problems in days / weeks not hours / mins.

  10. Stef
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    ""The whole reason to switch to Google Checkout was that they had lower processing fees and now they're basically the same as Paypal!""

    Wow!!! What were the chances of that happening? And this guy runs his own business?

  11. Tim

    Reminds me...

    Has anyone noticed ebay fees are going up (again) this month- there's an announcement about cheaper fees, but delving into it turns up that it is cheaper listing fees for 99p start items only, while for almost every item the final value fee has been whacked up to 10%. Yes, 10%. Plus Paypal's fee, other listing fees etc etc etc, the total cost of selling must be approaching 20% of end price now. Would be interesting to compare this to other countries' rates to see if it's just Britain that's being ripped off.


  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Google checkout vs. PayPal

    Even at similarly-priced service levels, Google checkout will ultimately win over PayPal for the simple reason that so many people do not trust PayPal. I have a GC and PP account myself, and virtually everyone prefers to use GC. I also run websites, one of which offers subscription that are paid for online, up until now via PayPal. The site owner has asked me to interface with another CC processing outfit because he has received numerous remarks about how people would love to sign up but do not want to have anything to do with PayPal.

    While GC may be hiking their prices, they're still not as expensive as some. Also, there's no setup fee (usually around £200 for many places), no recurrent monthly fee and still reasonable rates.

    Doing business on the 'Net has a price.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton


    They might not be colluding with each other but basically every e commerce merchant uses these figures and rate levels when determining your fee structure.

    More and more its looking like using the Realx gateway at 10 pence per pop tied to your own merchant deal is the way forward.

    Packaged deals from the likes of Google and Paypal may be simple but its expensive and inflexible.

    Paris, expensive but flexible

  14. Chris Williams

    Rip-off Britain is back?

    I didn't notice it had been away!

  15. Britt Johnston

    what about paying with stamps?

    Its possible that Google couldn't deliver at the lower rate.

    Anyway, in Germany, neither has the killer advantage that the banks have - they do transactions free if you have a salary account . That is why you see details like 'Paypal for foreigners only'.

  16. Unlimited

    Get a merchant account

    And do it right. Cut out the middle-middle man. Just accept credit cards yourself.

    How does 10 pence per transaction, no percentage cut, no set up fee, no annual fee sound?

  17. Ian Ferguson
    Thumb Down

    Over £55,000 a month?

    Christ alive, if I was buying from somewhere that has a turnover of over £55,000 a month, I'd be seriously dubious if they use PayPal or Google Checkout rather than a proper payment provider from a bank!

    These services are suited to two types of providers only: small/home businesses, and dodgy businesses that cannot convince the bank that they are safe enough to set up a credit card payment system.

  18. Seven_Spades

    Saw it coming but still think they have made a strategic error.

    In the short tern Google will see a virtual doubling of fee income. I have been using GC because it is almost pound for pound the same cost as the payment processor we use. Netsuite are about to launch GC integration for their customers, but I for one will not be implementing it on my Netsuite site. A consequence of the price hike, those of my sites on which I am using GC will switch over to payment processors only.

    In the short term GC will double its revenue, but who would choose to use this service in the future where it is so uncompetitive? I would suggest it will be only very small sites that will retain this payment method, which is a shame as GC was a real alternative to a proper payment processor.

    I never buy from any site that only accept PayPal, but I have been happy to spend money with Google Checkout, ho hum.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Its all about greed

    Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    Welcome to the world of capitalism Mr Google. You have obviously grown up and sold your once childlike soul.

    From now on you may be viewed differently. Ask Mr Gates. Not all rosy in the garden?

  20. rd232

    Foot, meet gun

    Hiking price rates, I get - they were low before. Maybe the hike's too much (given the lower level of service compared to real payment processors), maybe not. What I do *not* get is cutting the AdWords link. On the one hand, yes, this was an effective cross-subsidy from Checkout to AdWords; but I have no doubt it did encourage use of the former and spending on the latter. If it now seems the cross-subsidy is too much, I would have thought it would make more sense to tweak or limit it than abolish it in one fell swoop - for publicity reasons if nothing else. Finally, why cut the link at the same time as the price hikes? This way they won't be able to distinguish the impact of the two moves. Google losing the money-making plot? I suppose probably not.... they probably know what they're doing...

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Get a merchant account

    The page at that link clearly states that it applies only for those who expect more than 1000 transactions per quarter. That's basically 10 a day. Those of us with that kind of volume have already dropped outfits like Google or PayPal.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Credit Cards?

    Lots of traders moved to Paypal from credit card payments because Paypal was cheaper. Then Paypal put their prices up to something more inline with credit card transactions. So the traders moved to Google Checkout because they were cheaper. Then Google put their prices up to something broadly in line with Paypal.

    It's standard business practice to introduce a new service at a bargain price and then put your prices up to what the market will stand. I'm not quite sure why people expect online businesses to behave differenly from other businesses, but that's exactly what seems to happen.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC It's all about greed

    "Welcome to the world of capitalism Mr Google. You have obviously grown up and sold your once childlike soul."

    WHAT?! Speaking of childlike, you sir/madam are about as naieve as it's possible to get. Google has always been about making as much money as possible and trampling on the little guy if necessary. I didn't think anybody fell for their "we're just a bunch of lovely hippies" spin, but you obviously did.

    There's always one.

  24. Anonymous Coward

    Google Checkout R.I.P

    Google Checkout has been great for my business because my monthly adwords spend meant that my transaction fees were zero - you can't beat that kind of deal.

    They can stick their new offer up their arse though.

  25. Cliff

    Great opportunity for ... Microsoft?

    Yes, I know there are a lot of MS haters here, but it would seem that this could be the most incredible opportunity for them to come up with a payment processor and win over the 'not evil' Google's clients. If Google Checkout = PayPal = Evil, then there's a moral high ground for the small guy here.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ProTX cheaper? I think not!

    "How does 10 pence per transaction, no percentage cut, no set up fee, no annual fee sound?"

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. I hear this all the time, but on another ProTX page:

    "You will need to pay fees to both your merchant bank for the costs associated with your merchant account and to Protx for processing the payments."?

    So you need a merchant account which will charge the percentage cut.

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