PayPal Entices Small Business

PayPal has launched a product aimed at helping small and medium businesses accept online payments securely and cost-effectively.

The Website Payments Pro product is the first non-hosted payment suite from PayPal, a subsidiary of online auction giant eBay. It includes Express Checkout, Direct Payment API and Virtual Terminal functions, so firms can let shoppers choose how to pay for their purchases.

The Direct Payment API lets businesses accept credit or debit card payments. Buyers enter card details directly on the business’s own website and payments are processed through PayPal.

Customers can also pay for their goods using PayPal’s Express Checkout, removing the need to re-enter billing or delivery information with every purchase. Buyers can use any major credit or debit card, Banka account or PayPal account balance.

The Virtual Terminal allows businesses to accept orders offline via phone, fax or mail and then enter the details online so the transaction is processed by PayPal.

Companies can include their own branding on the checkout process web pages and can direct buyers back to their websites to continue shopping after payments are completed.

Carl-Olav Scheible, general manager of merchant services at PayPal said the product was developed to meet the needs of businesses that wanted the benefits of PayPal combined with those of a merchant account and gateway.

PayPal processed £4.2 billion (US$8.2 billion) of payments in Europe last year, and figures from Forrester Research show it is now a preferred payment method for 35 percent of online shoppers in the U.K.

But PayPal users have been heavily targeted by criminal phishing scams. In July, security firm Sophos revealed that 54 percent of the phishing emails received by its threat analysis centers were aimed at stealing log-in and other details from PayPal users.

Pricing for Website Payments Pro includes a monthly fee and a rate per transaction.

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