Table of Contents
- Understanding the Difference between Collecting Orders, Receiving Payments, and Currency Conversion
- Common Payment Channels for Independent Websites
- Credit Card Payment Channels
- Shopify Payment and Stripe
- Third-party Payment Platforms
- PayPal and Amazon Pay
- Manual Payment Methods
- Cash on Delivery and Bank Transfer
- Alternative Payment Methods
- Credit Card Payment Channels
- Analyzing Payment Channels Based on Registration Requirements
- Shopify Payment
- Pacypay and Other Mainland Chinese Credit Card Payment Companies
- Comparing Payment Channels Based on Transaction Fees and Settlement Periods
- Website Building Tools
- Collecting Orders Channels
- Receiving Payments Channels
- Evaluating Payment Channels Based on Fund Security
- Shopify Payment
- Assessing User Experience in Different Payment Channels
- Shopify Payment and Stripe
Understanding Shopify Independent Website Payments
If you've been running an independent website and struggling to understand the ins and outs of receiving payments, this article is here to help. By the end of this article, you will have a clear understanding of the entire process and all the information you need regarding Shopify independent website payments and withdrawals.
Before diving into the details, let's first clarify the difference between collecting orders, receiving payments, and currency conversion. When a customer places an order on your Shopify website, the website will transfer the payment for the order to a third-party payment platform, such as PayPal or Stripe. This process is known as collecting orders. Then, you can withdraw the funds from PayPal or Stripe to your local bank account, which is known as receiving payments. Lastly, you can convert the funds in your local currency and withdraw them to your own bank account. This process is known as currency conversion.
Now that we understand the basics, let's discuss the different payment channels available for independent websites. There are generally four types of channels for collecting orders:
- Credit Card Payment Channels: The most common channels in this category are Shopify Payment and Stripe. Shopify Payment is a payment channel introduced by Shopify in collaboration with Stripe.
- Third-party Payment Platforms: Examples include PayPal and Amazon Pay.
- Manual Payment Methods: This includes options such as cash on delivery or bank transfer.
- Alternative Payment Methods: Bitcoin is an example of an alternative payment method.
Next, let's analyze the advantages and disadvantages of each collection channel, starting with the registration requirements. Shopify Payment has the highest registration threshold, requiring you to have a company registered in the United States, the United Kingdom, or Hong Kong. Shopify will also ask for additional documentation, such as proof of address and utility bills, for further verification. The registration threshold for Stripe is slightly lower, requiring either a Hong Kong ID for individuals or a registered company in the United States, the United Kingdom, or Hong Kong. On the other hand, Pacypay and other mainland Chinese credit card payment channels have relatively lower registration thresholds, only requiring a business license and an account setup fee of approximately 5,000 RMB. PayPal has the lowest registration threshold, but you still need a business license to register.
Moving on to transaction fees and settlement periods, let's examine different aspects of the payment process. Firstly, website building tools such as Shopify charge a transaction fee based on the monthly plan you choose. For example, if you select the $29/month plan, the transaction fee will be 2% of the sales revenue. If you opt for the $79/month plan, the fee reduces to 1%, and if you choose the $299/month plan, it further decreases to 0.5%. Similar transaction fee mechanisms are employed by other website building platforms. Secondly, when it comes to collecting orders, Shopify Payment offers the lowest transaction fees as they waive the transaction fee for website building tools and only charge a 2.9% transaction fee, along with a fixed processing fee of $0.3 per transaction. Stripe's transaction fees vary depending on the country of account creation. For a US Stripe account, the transaction fee is the same as Shopify Payment (2.9%), along with a fixed fee of $0.3 per transaction. Hong Kong-based Stripe accounts have a transaction fee of 3.4%, plus a fixed fee of HKD 2.35 per transaction. Pacypay, as an example of a mainland Chinese credit card payment channel, charges a transaction fee of 3.2%, along with a fixed fee of $0.3 per transaction. The advantage of Pacypay is that it allows direct withdrawal to your own bank account, bypassing additional currency conversion channels such as AliPay's "Wanlihui" or "Pai'an'ing." However, each withdrawal is subject to a $35 processing fee. Lastly, PayPal charges a higher transaction fee of 4.4%, along with a fixed fee of $0.3 per transaction. However, if your monthly sales exceed $3,000, you can apply for a discounted transaction fee of 3.9%. PayPal withdrawals also incur a $35 processing fee unless you use AliPay's "Wanlihui" or "Pai'an'ing" for currency conversion, which waives this fee.
Now, let's compare the different collection channels based on their settlement periods. A shorter settlement period implies faster fund availability and higher capital turnover, allowing you to earn larger profits in the same amount of time. For Shopify Payment, the settlement period is "Transaction Date + 2 days" for US accounts, while it is "Transaction Date + 4 days" for Hong Kong accounts. Stripe has a settlement period of "Transaction Date + 7 days" for all accounts, and the same applies to Pacypay. However, Pacypay imposes a minimum settlement amount requirement of at least 2,000 RMB. Additionally, Pacypay reserves 10% of your account's transaction amount as collateral, freezing it for a period of 120 days. PayPal's settlement period is generally 3-5 business days. For new accounts, there may be a waiting period of up to 21 days before you can withdraw funds, which is usually due to the need to confirm the receipt of goods by customers.
Moving on to fund security, it is important to note that this assessment may be subjective. However, based on personal understanding and experience, Pacypay and other mainland Chinese credit card payment channels have higher security levels. There haven't been any reports of mainland credit card companies arbitrarily freezing accounts, and my own experience using these channels has been positive, with no issues in withdrawing funds. This is most likely because these companies operate within mainland China and are more accessible for complaints and appeals in case of any unreasonable circumstances. Stripe is considered to have a moderate security level. As long as you deal with legitimate goods and promptly respond to customer emails, providing proper company documentation, there is usually nothing to worry about. However, some sellers have reported cases where their Stripe accounts were frozen, resulting in a complete refund to customers and significant losses. In my personal experience, although I have faced several fund freezes with Stripe accounts, I have been able to successfully resolve them through appeals and providing supporting documents. Shopify Payment has a security level similar to Stripe but stands out in terms of additional verification requirements. It is advisable to have an overseas or Hong Kong company before using Shopify Payment under proper procedures. On the other hand, PayPal has the lowest level of security. In cases of dispute, PayPal tends to lean towards protecting buyers' rights even if the buyer has dishonest intentions. Periodically, PayPal launches initiatives to mass-block accounts, and once an account is detected, all associated accounts are also easily blocked. However, due to PayPal's monopoly, many sellers have no choice but to rely on PayPal.
Lastly, let's consider the user experience in different payment channels. Unquestionably, PayPal offers the best user experience, allowing customers to make quick payments with a single click without having to manually enter credit card information. The experience is similar to using WeChat Pay or Alipay in China. Shopify Payment and Stripe, on the other hand, provide a similar experience as they use the same technology. The compatibility of these payment channels with Shopify is well-developed, resulting in lower chargeback rates. It is worth mentioning that there are certain situations where foreign credit card payments might be declined due to higher risks associated with fraud and unauthorized transactions. Thus, it is important to note that even if buyers are willing to make a payment, their respective banks might decline the transaction due to risk assessment. Stripe, being the most commonly used credit card payment channel, is known for its lower transaction fees. Lastly, Pacypay, as a domestic Chinese credit card payment channel, requires customers to redirect to a dedicated payment page for the payment process, resulting in an additional step for conversion. This might have a slight impact on order conversion rates. However, if you are using website building tools such as Shopline for your Shopify website, this redirection step does not occur, and the payment process is smooth.
In conclusion, if you are using Shopify as your website building platform, it is highly recommended to use Shopify Payment or Stripe as your credit card payment channel, along with a PayPal business account for collecting orders. Alternatively, if you are using Shopline or similar Chinese website building tools, Pacypay can be a suitable credit card payment channel, again paired with a PayPal business account. If you do not have the means to open any credit card payment channels, there is a workaround using PayPal Smart Payment Buttons to collect credit card payments. For merchants using online platforms like Shopify, only a PayPal business account is allowed for collecting orders; personal accounts cannot be used. Registering for a PayPal business account is straightforward, requiring only a business license. However, subsequent verification is necessary. After registering a PayPal business account, you will encounter initial limitations on receiving payments. PayPal will request identification documents, as well as documentation related to your business. As long as you provide the required materials according to PayPal's guidelines, the restrictions can be lifted easily. However, when you receive your first payment or if a significant amount is deposited into your account, you might face additional verification. This verification will require you to provide evidence of procurement from suppliers and proof of order fulfillment, such as tracking numbers or shipping documentation. If you handle your own shipping, be sure to keep proper evidence for each order. If you adopt a dropshipping model, you can easily obtain the required documents from your suppliers. Account limitations are relatively easy to resolve and usually only restrict your ability to withdraw funds, allowing you to continue receiving payments. However, if your PayPal account has a high dispute rate or falls under PayPal's targeted actions against sellers, your account may be permanently banned, and your funds frozen for 180 days. In such situations, it becomes challenging to recover the account, but as long as you haven't engaged in copyright infringement or counterfeit sales, there is still a chance to appeal and regain access to your account. One useful tip is to call PayPal's customer service number for assistance in the appeal process. With successful appeals, your account can be unblocked within three days. Although I am now sharing my experiences calmly, I was also extremely tense when my PayPal or Stripe accounts were locked in the early stages. This was especially true when considerable funds, ranging from hundreds of thousands to millions, were frozen. However, I have gone through these pitfalls and learned how to nurture accounts, manage fund security, and minimize risk. Lastly, I want to emphasize the importance of user experience. This is the fundamental aspect of ensuring the security of our funds. In a recent conversation with a team specializing in Facebook's trending products, they mentioned that it has become increasingly difficult to scale with the dropshipping model due to frequent blocks on their PayPal accounts. Upon further discussion, I discovered that their PayPal accounts were banned due to poor customer experience, which manifested in delayed email responses, mismatched product quality, and slow logistics. These issues resulted in a customer complaint rate exceeding 10%. It is important to understand that such negative user experiences are the root causes of PayPal account suspensions. Therefore, it is crucial to prioritize user experience, particularly when scaling your business. If you find this article helpful, please don't forget to give it a thumbs up. Each article I produce summarizes my personal experiences and lessons learned, providing practical guidance beyond simple Google searches. I believe it will help you avoid many pitfalls. If you want to know how to register for PayPal or acquire Stripe, please leave comments mentioning "Stripe" or "PayPal." If there are enough requests, I will consider creating a specific tutorial for the next article, guiding you step by step in the registration process. Thank you, and see you in the next article!
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