Ecommerce complexity for Canadians

December 8, 2007 – 11:53 pm


On the subject of how to receive Ecommerce payments on websites, I sat over a cup of coffee with Scott Lake of Shopify and Craig Fitzpatrick of DevShop. They provided some great information.

Scott’s company is a hosted Ecommerce service provider for online merchants. Craig’s company provides hosted software development project management application and accepts payments on his website.

Essentially, the main issues are cost and control. Let’s take Paypal and similar services as an example. Cost: easier to setup, but the transaction fees are higher, making it suitable for small or micro businesses. Control: either direct your customers to their site during payment, or use their limited built-in web hosting features.

Otherwise, jump through the banking hoops will get you lower cost and full-control. Some of the “hoops” include signing up a credit card processor, getting a bank account with an US bank, get an US address and phone number, get an IRS EID number, etc. etc.

Yep, you have to deal with a lot of “US” issues, because payment processors do not like dealing with Canadian corporations. And, btw, despite some extra work, accepting payment from American Express cards right off the bat is a good idea.

Long story short, when it comes to receiving payment on your website, expect some planning and research. Side note: don’t forget to factor in taxes, inventory management, account management, invoicing, etc. etc.

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