This blog aims to compare some of the popular options for payment gateways that enable merchants to run an online marketplace.

A few weeks ago our Web Development team came across an interesting scenario, an enquiry came through which involved providing a solution to a client who was looking to set up an eCommerce store that involved selling goods online but rather than a straightforward payment solution, they were looking to split the payments amongst multiple parties (receivers).

This was something completely new for our eCommerce development team and something we did quite an in-depth research on prior to providing the client with all the possible options.

While conducting our research we found out that Payment gateways that allow you to split payments are based around the marketplace business model. The marketplace business model is different from the traditional eCommerce store because there are more than two parties involved in a typical transaction, the Marketplace owner (Facilitator or Platform owner), the Supplier (Seller or Account holder on the market) and finally the buyer i.e. the individual who buys the goods from the marketplace.

During our research we found many payment gateways supporting the marketplace business, however, a lot of them catered to the US and European markets only. This made us eliminate most of the available choices as the client was AU based.

Here are some options that we came across during our research:

  • PayPal Adaptive
  • Stripe Connect
  • Braintree Marketplace
  • Trustly (EU)
  • PromisePay now called Assembly Payments
  • Adyen
  • Mangopay (EU Only)
  • Dwolla (US-only)
  • WePay (US Only)
  • Splash Payments (US Only)

In this article, we have covered some of the most popular and well-known options worldwide as it was not possible to cover all the payment gateways. We envision adding a few more AU based payment gateways to the list in the near future.

Adaptive Payments by PayPal

NOTE- This is now a limited release product as stated on PayPal’s website. At the moment the product is available to select partners only and cannot be used without prior approval from Paypal. As per the information available on a forum one of the prerequisites to get approved for PayPal is to have an established business with a minimum amount of yearly sales.

Adaptive Payment is a solution provided by Paypal that allows payments to be split amongst multiple receiving parties.

There are three kinds of payments that PayPal Adaptive can handle:

  • Simple Payments- As the name suggests, this is a classic transaction where 2 parties are involved, the seller and the buyer. The buyer buys a good or service from the seller’s online store in exchange for a payment.
  • Parallel Payments- This is a more complex type of payment whereby a single payment being sent directly to multiple receivers. This payment method could be used by an eCommerce store that showcases products from multiple suppliers/sellers e.g. a product aggregation website.
  • Chained Payments- Another complex payment method that allows the funds received for a transaction to be split amongst multiple parties. In this case, the funds are first sent into the primary receiver’s account, who keeps a part of the payment and then the remaining funds are transferred into the account of the secondary receiver.

Things You Should Know about Paypal Adaptive

  • Integration- This payment gateway can be integrated using PayPal’s REST API for a web or mobile based application.
  • Minimum and Maximum Payment Receivers- For Parallel Payments there can be 2-6 receivers. And for Chained Payments, you can have 1-9 secondary receivers.
  • Delay in Payments- Chained Payments also allow for delayed chained payments whereby the primary receiver can delay the payment to secondary receivers by up to 90 days.
  • Splitting of Fees- There are multiple scenarios available for the splitting of fees. The payments can be split between payment sender and payment receiver and also split between multiple receivers for chained payments.
  • Support- PayPal offers unpatrolled support for both pre and post configuration issues and also has in-depth documentation available online.

Braintree Marketplace

Braintree is a part of the PayPal group and offers a similar solution to PayPal’s Adaptive Payments. With Braintree, you get the flexibility of accepting payments through a variety of methods like credit cards, bank transfers, PayPal and other leading wallets through a single integration.

For splitting payments for a particular transaction amongst multiple parties, Braintree provides a solution by the name of Marketplace.  In a typical scenario, as explained by Braintree within their developer’s section, a Master merchant (the owner of a marketplace) allows multiple Sub-merchants (Seller in the marketplace) to sell goods on his/her marketplace and in return charge a service fee to the sub-merchant when the item is sold.

Things you should know about Braintree Marketplace:

  • Escrow- The Master merchant has the option to hold back funds with a third-party financial institution. When the funds are disbursed by the master merchant, each party get their appropriate share of the payment.
  • Currency- For USD transactions only and both the Master and Sub-merchant should be based in the US only as per their developer documentation. However the product is being offered in Australia, this leads us to imply that the payment gateway is now available to AU merchants as well.
  • Dynamic Service Fee- Ability to set up different service fee rates for each sub-merchant.
  • Integration- API based Integration similar to PayPal.
  • Support- Excellent support provided by Braintree via phone, email and the extensive documentation that is made available online.

Stripe Connect    

Much like the above two payment gateways, Stripe Connect also allows a store owner to move funds of a particular transaction across different connected Stripe accounts.

There are three types of accounts that you can choose from in order to facilitate split payments with Stripe Connect. The main difference between each of the accounts is the amount of control the store/platform owner gets for managing the overall operations including integration, user dashboard access, payout timing and post-integration support.

The three types of accounts are as follows:

Standard Account- The simplest of the three accounts whereby the platform user controls all the payment flows from their dashboard. Multiple users can connect to a platform as long as they own a Stripe account. Each user has a relationship directly with stripe and has the ability to disconnect from the platform.

Highlights of Standard Accounts Include:

  • Easy to set up.
  • API-based integration.
  • Allows multiple users to connect to the platform as long as they have a Stripe account.
  • The users are liable for fraud and dispute liability.
  • The platform owner cannot specify payment timings.
  • The on-boarding process is taken care of by Stripe.
  • Support is provided by the platform and Stripe.
  • Suitable for experienced online businesses.

Express Account- Currently in its Beta phase, this type of account provides the platform owner with the ability to specify the flow of funds amongst users and the responsibility for handling disputes and refunds.

The platform owner has more control over the payment functionality and can schedule frequency payouts, perform manual payments and settle a payout instantly. Express account holders have a basic view dashboard allows them to manage their profile, view payments and payouts to their bank.

Highlights of an Express Accounts Include:

  • Easy to set up.
  • OAuth-based Integration
  • Allows the platform to connect multiple Stripe users.
  • More control for handling payouts to Stripe users including the ability to delay payments.
  • The on-boarding process is taken care of by Stripe.
  • The platform is responsible for fraud and dispute liability.
  • User support is provided by Platform and Stripe.
  • Access to a dashboard with minimal features.
  • Suitable for all types of users.
  • Additional charges apply to Express Accounts, $2 Per Active Account Per Month + 0.25% of Account Volume. And $0.25 per payout (AUD).

Custom Account- A Custom Stripe account is the most complex type of account that Stripe has to offer and provides complete control to the platform owner. Stripe essentially acts as an invisible party throughout the process, from the integration of the payment gateway to the settlement of payments.

 The platform owner has the ability to change all the account settings including the bank account. And a custom account holder does not get access to a dashboard like in the case of other Stripe accounts. This is because Stripe expects you as the platform owner to have the necessary infrastructure in place to handle account holders.

Highlights of a Custom Accounts Include:

  • The most complex account type of account to set up and maintain out of the three accounts Stripe has to offer.
  • Integration takes place using an API.
  • The platform is responsible for fraud and dispute liabilities.
  • The platform has the ability to set payout timings for other account holders.
  • The onboarding process including information gathering is taken care of by the platform owner.
  • Account holders have no access to the dashboard and all support is provided by the platform owner.
  • Ideal for businesses that have the necessary infrastructure in place to handle the onboarding, integration and support for account holders.
  • Additional charges apply to Express Accounts, $2 Per Active Account Per Month + 0.25% of Account Volume. And $0.25 per payout (AUD).
  • Additional charges apply to Express Accounts, $2 Per Active Account Per Month + 0.25% of Account Volume. And $0.25 per payout (AUD).

PromisePay (Now Known as Assembly Payments)   

An Australian born and bred company that has been purpose-built to facilitate payments for marketplaces and platforms and allows you to make and receive payments from and single or multiple buyers or sellers.

Use cases of Assemble Payments:

  • Payments between buyers and sellers- As a facilitator of the transaction, you can oversee all the transactions that take place between the buyers and sellers within your platform (Marketplace) and you as the facilitator get your fees for each of these transactions.
  • Accepting payments from buyers and sellers- As a marketplace owner you can accept payments from both your buyers and sellers using a multiple payments methods and settle all the funds to your platform.
  • Paying out the sellers- The platform allows you to settle payments with a single or multiple sellers (using a mass payout feature).

Things you should know about Assembly Payments:

  • Types of Transactions- Assembly’s API support multiple types of transactions including Escrow, Escrow Partial Release, Express payments and Approve payments.
  • Currency- The payment gateway has the capability to accept international payments.
  • Payment Methods- Buyers have the ability to pay via Credit & Debit Cards, Wire Transfer, ACH, Direct Debit, Digital Wallet and BPAY. Sellers can receive their funds either via ACH, PayPal, or Wire Transfer (including international wire transfers).
  • Dynamic Service Fee- Ability to setup different service fee rates for each seller. Fees can be fixed or percentage based. Fees are refunded on a proportional basis based on the amount of refund being processes.
  • Integration- API based Integration.
  • Support- Extensive documentation available online. Ability to contact support team through email but no phone numbers provided on their website.

Dwolla 

Currently available to US-based businesses only, Dwolla is another contender when it comes to managing payments for marketplace based business models.

As explained by Dwolla, a marketplace can have the following type of transactions:

  • Pay-in- A payment that is executed by a customer to the marketplace for purchase the goods/services being sold within the marketplace.
  • Pay-out- A payment that is executed by the marketplace owner/facilitator to the seller of the goods/services within the marketplace

While at first, these two type payments might look quite similar, this is not the case as both these parties have a very different goal or objective. From the pay-in perspective, a customer would typically like a seamless checkout experience with the ability to pay using different payment methods such as credit cards, PayPal or even a bank transfer.

On the other end of the spectrum are your suppliers (Pay-out) who expect to get timely payments for the goods/services that are being sold through your marketplace. This is facilitated through something called the ACH transfers.

Things you should know about Dwolla’s Payout Feature:

  • Easy Setup- The marketplace owner can easily set up new payout customer accounts by providing an account and a routing number.
  • API Integration- The ACH solution for bank transfers can be integrated using an API and will allow for brand customisation.
  • Processing Times- Dwolla offers expedited payment solutions that can facilitate same day transfer.
  • Automated Payments- API based triggers can allow for automated payments.
  • Monthly Fee- Dwolla charges a monthly fee from marketplace owners rather than a per transaction fee.

 If you are thinking of developing an online marketplace or need some help with integrating the right payment solution for your online marketplace please feel free to get in touch with Websites ‘N’  More, a digital agency in Sydney, Australia, focusing on providing custom web development solutions to businesses across multiple Industry sectors.