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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Paypal or Alertpay?

Should you consider Alertpay as an alternative to Paypal? Both services allow users to send money to recipients securely and without divulging personal account information to the recipient. Having said that, there are some pointed differences between the two services:

Cost: In general, sending payments from one personal Paypal account to another is free for the sender and recipient. Recipients with personal Alertpay accounts must pay a dollar per transaction. For receiving credit card payments, cents; PayPal charges 4.9% on the transaction plus 30; AlertPay charges a flat 5%, so the difference will be minimal for most transactions.

Acceptance: Here's where PayPal shines. PayPal claims more than 153 million accounts in 190 markets and 17 currencies around the world, including 42,000 PayPal shops. AlertPay does not publish its number of accounts, but an Internet search yields relatively few merchants accepting this kind of payment.

Particularly important for some is eBay acceptance. eBay owns PayPal, and so it is fully integrated as a way of sending and receiving payments. On the other hand, eBay sellers are specifically forbidden to use AlertPay to receive funds. Those who try to use AlertPay on eBay face listing cancellation, forfeit of eBay fees on canceled listings, limits on account privileges, loss of PowerSeller status or account suspension

Foreign Currency: Both PayPal and AlertPay allow for transactions in multiple currencies. However, PayPal automatically converts foreign currency payments into your base currency, while AlertPay requires you to maintain a separate currency account for each currency you deal with.

Acceptable Use: This is one area where AlertPay may have an edge for some sellers. AlertPay offers a Secured Account that "accepts multi-level marketing, mature content and other commonly considered risky' businesses." On the other hand, multi-level marketing and the selling of obscene materials is expressly forbidden by PayPal's acceptable use policy.

Bottom line: for most users, PayPal will be cheaper, easier and more widely accepted than AlertPay.


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