Payment Gateway Woes

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Companies without a US office are at a huge disadvantage when it comes to credit card processing. If you happen to be a Sri Lankan company, accepting credit card payments is like swimming upstream with both hands tied behind your back.

When choosing a payment gateway options are really limited for non us companies because most gateways are available only if you have a US bank account - for which you need to have a US presence. Something that is too costly for most small businesses.

At first glances it would seem that there are plenty of choices, that is until you actually try to sign up with a gateway. The sign up forms do not even have a field to enter the country.

There are several others namely, 2Checkout, Paysat, CCAvenue and Ikombo that will accept international merchants. There is always a catch. CCAvenue will only accept vendors selling tangible goods. Paysat and IKobo do not accept all major cards.

Here in Sri Lanka, where the local banks which pay 5% interest to depositers and have prime lending rates in excess of 10% boast of payment gateways on their website. But you cannot sign up online and when you call to find out, no one seems to know anything about it.

Faced with all these problems we have been using 2checkout for the past two years. Unfortunately their service standards have dropped over the last few weeks like a ton of bricks. Curiously if you search the web you will find lots of people saying it has always been that way.

Paypal is not an option. Though they say "send money to anyone with an email address" that is a lie , their service is available in only 40 countries and our country is not in that list - which is perhaps fortunate jugding by some of what has been said about paypal.

In order to find a more suitable solution I had a chat with a financial consultant who has lived and worked in several countries. He pointed me to several Sri Lankan companies who sell online and find out how they do it.

Unfortunately these organizations primarily target Sri Lankan consumers and sell tangibles. What use is a consultant that cannot tell the difference between a tangible and intangible product? I didn't tell this consultant that I processed my first credit card transaction in 1997 long before most of the other Sri Lankan companies even hear d of the internet.

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