Online Payments

What is the best way to collect payments from people online?

Luis Berga Co-Founder at Music Meets Video

April 18th, 2013

Hi everybody,

I'm working on an idea that would require people to send payments which we would later distribute (think of it like LeagueSafe or an online wedding registry).

Does anyone have any thoughts on the best method to collect and distribute funds? One important caveat, is that we're thinking about taking a percentage of the transaction as a way to monetize so I'm not sure if just simply using Paypal would work (since I believe they also take a cut of transactions).

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Jesal Gadhia

April 18th, 2013

I would suggest looking at

Eric Rogness Technical Product Manager

April 18th, 2013

Balanced and Paypal are the only processors that (a) provide a way to distribute payments; and (b) don't retain their transaction fee when issuing a refund. As popular with developers as Braintree and Stripe may be, it may ruin your business model if you can't recover the 3% you've paid to the processor if you can't issue a refund.

Greg Frank Director of Product Management at 4Finance

April 18th, 2013

I'd be interested in seeing some of the replies you get as I have an idea that would treat payments the same was - I collect and the distribute them.

Have a look at Balanced - they would be a great option except that I'm currently in Canada and they don't support Canadian payments at this time.


Gaurav Sharma

April 18th, 2013 -- Gaurav Sharma (650) 450-9301

Justin Williams Digital Marketer and Data Analyst

April 18th, 2013

So any merchant account which allows you to charge cards is going to take a percentage. Basically what you're looking for is a merchant account.

Zvi Epner

April 18th, 2013

I've used and found it to be very developer friendly


April 18th, 2013

Read up on Paypal Chained payments--it allows you to take a percentage and then distribute the remainder to a number of secondary receivers. This may work for what you're trying to do. It's part of their Adaptive payments solution. Just be warned, it's fairly complicated to set up even though there are APIs. As for Paypal taking a percentage: so does any payment processor, including a regular merchant account. Hope this helps! Cynthia

Jason Crawford Founder without portfolio

April 18th, 2013

Stripe is popular. If that doesn't have the APIs you want, check out Amazon payments (“Flexible Payment System“) - it is indeed quite flexible and is used by Kickstarter for their unusual requirements (authorize/hold now, charge or void later depending on success of the fundraising).

Joseph Hsieh Growth Marketing & User Acquisition Specialist

April 18th, 2013

Take a look at balanced. I think they support the use case you are talking about. Joseph Hsieh

Kris Braun Co-founder of KidsWifi

April 18th, 2013

Greg (and any other canucks), we're based in Canada and are getting ready to trial Stripe for this kind of payment setup. While Balanced (US only) does look a little cleaner, Stripe Connect (US+Canada) appears to have all the necessary functionality. Would be happy to compare notes and share tips with others doing group payments, particularly in Canada.