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Adii Pienaar

Now working on Receiptful. Co-Founder & ex-CEO of WooThemes. Author of Brandiing. New Dad. Ex-Rockstar.

Online Payments Suck

We've seen so many online industries being disrupted in the last couple of months (think AirBnB for accommodation & Hipmunk for traveling). In fact, I think "disruption" (using the current "trendy" definition) has become a business model in itself: just change things around completely within an industry, offer a superior product / service / experience and you're good to go.

The one industry that really needs some disruption badly is online payments. Sheesh, with more online businesses being started than ever before, I can't believe that something as completely shit as PayPal is still the #1 go-to for most of these startups. Payment processing is the lifeblood of these startups and yet we still have a variety of inadequate solutions available.

I think online payments fail for a couple of reasons (individually or in some cases, a combination of these):

  • The best solutions are almost never available to anyone outside of the States. The startup economy is truly global now and there's no excuse why payment solutions haven't been democratized across the board.
  • International and cross-country money transfers are still a mess, doesn't matter which service you use. Surely our politicians / reserve bank officials / economists / whoever can come up with something that's even 1% better.
  • Customers don't just trust any payment processor and rightfully I don't think they should.
  • Oh and did I mention PayPal, with its robotic support and complete inability to ever resolve a dispute fairly, is from the devil? I don't trust PayPal with more than $100 of my money. Ever.

I could probably go on, but these are the main reasons I see for the below-par experience with the solutions we have available at the moment.

With this at the back of my mind, I recently pulled the trigger on my first angel investment with InspirePay (where I'll also be an active advisor). The thing I liked about InspirePay was that they were actively trying to make things better and I especially think that there aim to democratize superior payment processing globally is fantastic (albeit ambitious).

Maybe it's just me... I'm from South Africa and as a result we've been excluded from using some of the better payment solutions out there. Maybe if we were based in the Valley I wouldn't have felt this way... What do you think? Got similarly frustrating experiences to share?

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