Google checkout becoming as bad as Paypal

30 March 2009

Is Google Checkout worth... checking out? Consumers with limited Paypal accounts may have previously said 'yes', but lately, even their merchants have been less than enthusiastic. Thanks to Anita Barci's Google statement announced that the online payment service will be increasing fees from May 5th. In fact, the fee increase will bring Google checkout fees roughly in line with those of Paypal's.

Dismayed users who saw Google as a cheap alternative, currently pay 1.5% of the value of the transaction and 15 pence, but from the 5th of May, this is going to be replaced by a tiered structure starting at 3.4% and 20p per transaction if monthly sales are worth less than £1,500 (and the rest of the scale is pretty much similar to Paypal, for those happy few turning over more than £55,000, Google will only take a measely 1.4% and 20p per transaction.)

On the consumer front, complaints have started to pour into Google's forums, furious by the changes, and how Google are now no better than PayPal. Other Google Checkout complaints ranged from:

Several users claim to have already dumped the service, and plenty of criticism surround making the change during a serious recession. Merchants have also lost rebates gained from spending money on Google AdWords (currently, online shops get to use Google Checkout for free should transactions total less than ten times their monthly AdWords spending.) This ends May 4, as cross-border transaction get an extra percent added onto the total. The link with AdWords was a major compelling reason for merchants to use the service.

It is sad that online transaction brokers aren't held accountable to the same rules as banks, and resolving fraud and billing issues with both Google and Paypal usually mean a humanless interaction that revolves around a gazillion emails back and forth with less than adequate template responses. Is it that much to ask for a reliable online payment system that doesn't scam its users? The lack of resolvability and user friendliness is usually behind most complaints from dissatisfied customers. Jacking up the fees certainly won't help its cause.

[The Consumerist]


  • Martin
    Google have been telling sellers for months about this change, and any sensible seller would have factored in the price increase into their own prices. It makes me laugh when people wish that google would come into the auction market, to give eBay a shake-up and create a "better" (cheaper, safer,...) auction site. They would do exactly the same as they have done with google checkout. Once they get momentum, they will increase prices in line with those at eBay and change their policy to mirror those of eBay - they know people are willing to pay that price, so why would they offer lower prices in the long term? The whole point of giving cheap fees for google checkout was to take away some of the (non-eBay) PayPal market. Now they have momentum, they charge what PayPal charge and handle things like charge backs inexactly the same way. And as people have already moved to use them, why bother going back to PayPal where they charge the same?
  • Joff
    I can't help think that Google might be trying to wind up Google checkout, but then I suppose if they were to pull the plug they'd just do it rather than start increasing fees. I would have thought though that most people that offer/use Google checkout do so because they don't want to give in to the whores known as Paypal, rather than take advantage of whatever deals Google were throwing around at the time with AdWords rebates, etc.
  • Christopher
    Fees are actually now higher than PayPal (for light users). National orders are: GC 3.4% + 20p, PP 3.4% + 20p. International orders are: GC 4.4% + 20p, PP 3.9% + 20p. As half the stuff I sell goes abroad, I ditched GC as soon as I heard about the change.
  • OFI
    "It is sad that online transaction brokers aren’t held accountable to the same rules as banks, and resolving fraud and billing issues with both Google and Paypal usually mean a humanless interaction..." Have to agree. I can't understand how PayPal especially is allowed to handle so much of peoples money without being regulated the same as banks. It MUST turn over more money now than some of the UKs banks/building societies. With so many simple scams to con people with it seems daft that they continue to get away wth it. Would have thought a proper bank would have tried to get in on an alternative some time sooner, I wonder if it is because under regulation the ease of the transfers just wouldn't be possible.
  • Martin
    > Would have thought a proper bank would have tried to get in on an alternative some time sooner Natwest fastpay ...
  • Karl
    > Natwest fastpay … Which has died:
  • Roy
  • Martin
    > Natwest fastpay … Which has died: Exactly. They tried and failed to make money. Why would another bank take on the task?
  • OFI
    Because it should be possible if they just do it right :-) PayPal managed it (albeit with the huge advantage of being in the same bed as eBay) Obviously needs better advertising too. I've been with Natwest 7 years and this is the first i've heard of 'FastPay' !
  • Martin
    Fastpay started in 2002, shut down in 2005. One of the problems was that they charged purchasers (20p) rather than the vendor to accept the payment. They were cheaper than PayPal, but actually cost buyers more, so there was no incentive to use it as a buyer. It was never clear to me whether they were aiming at big online businesses using them (cdwow accepted fastpay for a while), or small websites, or eBay sellers, or individuals. Whichever it was, they didn't get established in the market they were after and had to close it.
  • mike v.
    I have been a merchant customer of Google Checkout for years. I am not sure why, but I am moving to another vendor asap. They recently refunded an order to a customer without my knowledge and then charged me $10 to do so. I called the customer and they were kind enough to write a letter to Google telling them there was a mistake. There is NO PHONE NUMBER to call. Google to this day, months later, still has not reversed the fee. its funny, I pay them over, $1,300/month in transaction fees and they dont even provide me with a simple phone number to call about a MISTAKE of theirs. GOOGLE IS TERRIBLE AND THEY ARE TRYING TO BE SOMETHING THEY ARE NOT. THEY ARE NOT A TRANSACTION MANAGAMENT COMPANY.
  • usa e.
    Definitely imagine that which you said. Your favorite justification seemed to be on the net the easiest factor to take into account of. I say to you, I definitely get irked whilst other folks think about worries that they just don't understand about. You managed to hit the nail upon the highest as well as outlined out the entire thing with no need side effect , other folks can take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thank you

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