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eCommerce: PayPal and Beanstream

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UPDATE: I wrote this a while back, so skip to the bottom for more up to date info

I recently made a comparison between Beanstream and PayPal. This is my report. I welcome any opinion.

I’ve done extensive research into both products and can conclude that both offer the same services, but at different prices. From my experience, there’s no real pro vs. con between Beanstream and PayPal. It’s a matter of selecting the best price plan for your business. A business’s monthly online sales volume will determine which price plan is right for you, and consequently, help you decide between Beanstream and Paypal.

When talking about costs, the price plans Beanstream and PayPal offers vary. But all plans consist of the following fees:

- Set up fee (between Free – $100)
- Monthly fee (between $20 – $70)
- Transaction fee (between $0.20 – $1.00 per transaction)
- Merchant account fee (between 2% – 4% per transaction)

Beanstream and PayPal collect the setup fee, monthly fee and transaction fee. The bank dealing with credit cards collects the merchant account fee (when you go to a store and pay by credit card swipe, there is a 2% to 4% charge to the store owner…the merchant account fee is this fee)

All other things compared: everything Beanstream does, PayPal does, and vice versa. They both provide easy to use API and documentation for programmers. They both have easy to understand CMS for managing finances.

So that’s the nutshell and everything in it.

UPDATE: December 13, 2010
Actually, the biggest difference between Beanstream and Paypal is support. Beanstream is much more timely in terms of support. Paypal support is terrible…you have to post in forums and wait hours for an OP to post short un-descriptive answers. Also, paypal documentation is terrible, which I’ve written about here:

Written by John Lai

November 27th, 2008 at 12:09 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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2 Responses to 'eCommerce: PayPal and Beanstream'

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  1. Hi John,
    I am in the midst of choosing a payment processor and came across your blog entry as i am actually comparing paypal and beanstream for a ruby on rails site that we are developing with an ecommerce component. Out of curiousity did you have any active experience utilizing either of these vendors and any further insights? I really appreciate your helpful blog entry and feedback.



    27 Oct 09 at 2:42 pm

  2. Hi Tiffany, I have used Paypal for two things:

    1) their checkout express
    2) their recurring payments

    If you’re new to Paypal, it will probably be a nightmare. In my opinion, their API documentation is terrible, as is their tech support. Their tech support always gave me 1 or 2 sentence answers, and did nothing to help me isolate potential problems.

    Everytime I discover the solution to a paypal problem, my reaction was always, “How terribly un-intuitive, and why was this not explained in a conspicuous part of the documentation with big bold letters?”

    I haven’t launched anything LIVE with beanstream, but from my brief communications with tech support, they seem to be much better. Their admins wrote detailed email responses to help me figure things out.

    John Lai

    30 Oct 09 at 7:06 pm

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