Cheque payments can seriously harm your DSRs

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Do you still accept payment by cheques and if so how many of your customers take up the option? I’d like to know as every time I receive a cheque I groan as it means paying it into the bank and accounting for it manually instead of a PayPal download. To me a cheque is a grain of grit in a well oiled ecommerce operation that quite frankly I could do without.

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Today I received an email from eBay begging me to offer PayPal only. The rational I can agree with – faster payment clearance leading of course to faster dispatch and better likelyhood of good feedback. Plus of course PayPal offers protection for both buyers and sellers which isn’t available for other methods of payment.
The most compelling reason for accepting PayPal is that sellers who offer cheques and postal orders have an average Detailed Seller Rating score of 4.6 whereas sellers who only offer PayPal have a score of 4.81. That’s a massive difference but as I receive so few cheques it’s not a huge concern. If however the ratio of cheques (or other payment methods) to PayPal rose sharply the impact could lose me Top Rated Seller status so I’ll continue to monitor buyer payment choices.
So why do I continue to accept cheques and postal orders? Well the reason is simply – some buyers have a problem with their PayPal account. Cards expire, passwords get forgotten. Buyers change their email provider and can’t recover their account. Any ecommerce operation should offer a choice of payment methods as failing to do so will undoubtedly lose you some sales.
I may only get one or two cheque payments a month, but while buyers continue to use alternatives to PayPal I’ll continue to accept them. After all, money is money, and it’s better off in my pocket then theirs regardless of how it gets there.
So what payment methods do you accept? Which alternatives to PayPal are most popular and which is your preference for ease of use and cost?


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