eBay are testing a new payment system in Germany and Austria. Rather than as currently happens the buyer paying the seller direct, under the pilot scheme buyers will actually pay eBay for their purchases on the site.
With the Pilot once a purchase has been made eBay will request payment from the buyer and once eBay has the funds they’ll notify the seller that the item should be despatched. The seller then needs to ship the product and when they mark it as despatched this triggers the payment from eBay to the seller.
The big deal on this test is Buyer Protection. Currently buyers are protected for their purchases if they pay with PayPal. Under the pilot with eBay collecting the funds all acceptable payment methods will be covered under Buyer Protection. Buyers have the option to pay with Bank Transfer, PayPal, Skrill (the new name of Moneybookers) or credit card/debit card through either PayPal or Skrill.
As a side benefit the pilot will also ensure that a wider range of payment options are available to buyers on a consistent basis. All sellers participating in the pilot will have the same set of payment options offered on their items so buyers will always have the choice of using their favoured payment method.
All newly registered sellers on eBay.de and eBay.at will be included in the payments pilot. All of their items listed on eBay will have direct payment options to eBay which means buyers around the world buying from these sellers will see the range of eBay payment options.
Payments from eBay to the seller can be either through PayPal or bank transfer, and similar to current PayPal holds the frequency will be dependent on the seller status including if they are a business seller with an established trading history (immediate payout) or Business seller without a trading history or who are below standard (7 day payout) or Private sellers (14 day payout).
eBay say that it’s too early to say if the pilot will be rolled out to more sellers or in more eBay territories. They will of course thoroughly analyse the results of the pilot to determine if it has the desired effect of increasing trust on eBay, particularly for higher value purchases from newly registered sellers.
I do like the way the new payment model offers choice of payment methods to buyers and increases buyer protection. I’m not so sure that sellers with their own merchant banking facilities for accepting credit/debit cards or those who already accept bank transfer will welcome delays in receiving their funds.
However the most important data point from the pilot will be to see if it increase the frequency and value of purchases from buyers. If sales volume and value increase than any change in payment options is likely to be a secondary consideration and something we’ll all just have to live with.