Google checkout came into existence to become a direct competitor to Paypal who hold the prime position as the go to facility for accepting online payments.
Both Google checkout and Paypal are what are called a 3rd party payment processors, which means when you register with them you are given access to software that places different payment options on your website. When a customer clicks on the payment button they effectively are dealing with a 3rd party i.e. Paypal for example take over the purchase, accept the payment on your behalf and redirect the customer to a page that tells them what happens next. This might be a page where they can download a digital product or a page that simply informs them that the payment has been accepted and that the product will be shipped to them in the next few days.
For a merchant, Google Checkout or Paypal is a great way of handing off the responsibility of dealing with secure payments. This does of course come at a cost, both Paypal and Google Checkout charge for the service and Paypal insist that you have a business Paypal account for providing this service as opposed to a free personal Paypal account.
A Google checkout account is also chargeable for the same reason. The percentage charged is dependent on sales volume per month, and starts at 2.9% for less than $3,000 going down to 1.9% if volumes exceed $100,000. Google Checkout merchants have to reside in either the US or the UK, although this has been expanded for merchants selling applications on the Android Market a mobile platform.
From that perspective Paypal is much more flexible but the charges are a little more expensive in the UK, initially starting at 3.4% up to £1,500 but dropping to 1.4% above £55,000. The fees in the States start at 2.9% the same as Google Checkout. The big benefit being that Paypal operates locally in at least 21 countries and holds funds in at least 24 currencies.
A slight aside, Chase Paymentech Solutions, LLC is a leading global payments firm and Paymentech is leading a sort of Chase online payment initiative that is looking to bring together all the top players in online payments with a view to establishing what the future holds for the online payments industry. You can find the details for that here Chase Paymentech Brings Together Ecommerce Leaders
One of the subjects they are bound to be discussing are the changes in the future with respect to making online payments and using mobile platforms. Businesses like Citibank online promise secure banking anywhere in the world with login protection software provided for free. Citibank is also working in cooperation with initiatives like Google Wallet. Something that is set to make shopping offline much simpler, effectively a users mobile device becomes a way of paying for services,recovering coupons and receiving offers in their immediate viscinity. The possibility is that this will draw consumers away from online shopping and back to the high streets for their last minute offers and bargains.
So I guess we will just have to watch this space to see what the overall affect of these type of services is and what that does to online shopping. One thing is for sure, it places another string in the bow of Google’s moves to become a big player in the market for providing financial services to merchants.