What makes a reasonable transaction fee? Amazingly enough, a lot of merchants never ask themselves that question, and failing to think about fees almost guarantees overpaying them. Flat fees, like the kind charged by PayPal and Stripe, are probably among the most common out there. They’re straightforward and easy to grasp, and as a result, many merchants simply accept them and never give it a second thought. And while flat fees – like PayPal’s 2.9% + $0.30 on all transactions – are fine for some businesses, for others, they represent massive waste and a drain on profitability.
On May 7th, 2019, PayPal updated its user agreement and made a big change that impacts every single one of their sellers in an inarguably negative way. Prior to the change, any time a refund was provided to a customer, the slice of the pie that PayPal had taken on the transaction was returned to the seller. That’s no longer the case, and PayPal will now be keeping that fee regardless of whether a transaction is refunded or not. The decision represents a big problem for high-volume and B2B sellers, as well as sellers who sell high-ticket items that carry hefty transaction fees. A large number of sellers are balking at the change, and with good reasons, considering it doesn’t just nullify revenue, but actually takes money out of a seller’s pocket based on something that, in many ways, they can’t control.
The thrid-party electronic payments industry is a hotly contested marketplace, with a wide array of different payment solutions for merchants to choose from. Unfortunately, sometimes that level of choice can lead to indecision. It isn’t uncommon for merchants to respond by signing up for the providers that they’re most familiar with. Sometimes that might mean going directly to their bank. Often it means choosing one of the brand names they’ve seen or read about, with PayPal, Square, and Stripe being three of the most well-publicized.