Monday, March 19, 2012

Paypal payment solutions - need improvement

Since Paypal (it’s parent eBay at the time) acquired Verisign’s payment gateway in 2005 we have been a Paypal customer and aside from a complete screw up a couple of years ago that left us without service for 3 days everything has gone smoothly. However, the experience of a few days ago when we decided to switch from payflow link to payflow pro prompted me to write this quick review.
Just to be fair let me say that the service we received from paypal tech support this time was outstanding, the reps we spoke with were knowledgeable and courteous, so Paypal is doing something right. However, as is often the case, satisfaction does not often motivate one to write about it, it is the unpleasant part that provides that motivation. So, here are my grudges:
  1. Since the acquisition of Verisign's gateway services Paypal has made no improvements whatsoever on the payflow link solution, which is what we were using. It was embarrassing to “hand the customer over” to paypal to finalize the payment – the customer was presented with an ugly form (the branding/customization capabilities were a joke) and an un-necessary two step process that left the customers with an un-easy feeling. I think Paypal should either put some serious effort on improving the solution or drop it altogether, it is just not serious to keep it the way it is right now. 
  2. We made the switch to Payflow Pro, or so we thought. A call to Paypal tech support helped us realize that the developer that worked on this instead of implementing Payflow Pro had implemented Website Payments Pro Payflow Edition! How did that happen? The answer is not hard to guess:
    1. Confusing solution names make it hard to tell which one is which
    2. Confusing documentation makes it even harder to distinguish one solution from the other;
  3. Lastly, while implementing all three solutions (we had Payflow Link, mistakenly implemented Website Payments Pro, and finally Payflow Pro) we were surprised by the inconsistent implementation on the paypal side, three solutions – three different sets of parameters even though we are passing basically the same set of data.
Of course we understand that Paypal has every incentive to push vendors like us away from those inherited “gateway only” solutions towards their “full service” solutions but frustrating vendors is not the way to do it.


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