Subject: Re: payment aggregator service?
From: ghost@ALADDIN.COM (L. Peter Deutsch)
Date: Mon, 7 Feb 94 12:37:24 PDT

Re <2d567363.crynwr@crynwr.com>:

> I'm thinking that I could start a business to aggregate (collect
> together) small payments.  So, this business would have providers,
> and clients.  The providers would supply services to the clients. A
> provider would send me an email message saying "I just provided a $5
> service to your client FOOBAR".  At the end of the month, I would
> charge the client $5, and pay the provider a high percentage of that.
> Obviously there are risks, etc, but that's my problem.
> 
> Most of the people here would be providers.  Would you be willing to
> provide services for people if someone else took care of billing
> (taking a percentage)?  All you would have to do is ask the customer
> "Are you a TinyPay(tm) client?  Great, what's your client ID?" and
> proceed with the service.
> 
> Certainly this service solves a problem for *my* company, Crynwr
> Software.  I expect it would open up possibilities for lots of small
> support companies.

I looked into having a bank provide this service for customers paying with
credit cards.  Their charges are very high.  I don't remember the exact
numbers, but as I recall, a company doing only a few hundred dollars'
worth of business a month in units of $30 per transaction (this was my
situation) would wind up paying the bank about 15-20%.  And they
(allegedly) have economies of scale.

Using e-mail to report transactions seems to me to have all the problems
of fraud that other EFT mechanisms do, and more.  At the very least, I
would think some good form of digital signature would be necessary, and
transactions would have to be signed by both the provider *and* the
client.  This might make the whole thing too awkward to be feasible.  I
know it would make it infeasible for my business of supplying Ghostscript
copies on diskette, since nearly all of the orders I receive are
one-time-only orders from people who don't have e-mail.  It might,
however, help my consulting business, if it let me invoice people for time
spent on their work with less bookkeeping on my part.

L. Peter Deutsch :: Aladdin Enterprises :: P.O. box 60264, Palo Alto, CA 94306
ghost@aladdin.com, ...decwrl!aladdin!ghost ; voice 415-322-0103 ; fax 322-1734
	    "Implementation is the sincerest form of flattery."