eBay Payments Q&A with eBay Vice President Murray Lambell

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With eBay payments coming to the marketplace, this month for many sellers, with a fast roll out around the world due by the end of 2021, we sat down with eBay’s Vice President of UK Trading, Murray Lambell, to ask some blunt questions that Tamebay readers have been asking.

What are eBay payments and why are you rolling them out now?

Murray simply stated that ‘It’s time!’, pointing out that they’ve been building payments out and that eBay is now comfortable that eBay payments are ready for main stream roll out.

Frankly in our opinion, (and Murray would never say this) it’s way past time that eBay had an integrated payments system. It’s bizarre that one of the biggest ecommerce sites in the world doesn’t have a single sign on payments system and one where buyers can appeal to eBay and then PayPal and then if they still don’t win do a credit card charge back.

We’re in the midst of a global pandemic, are you sure the timing is right?

Murray told us that, if you’d asked a few months ago, eBay were unsure of how the pandemic would impact the economy. The reality now is that online business is booming, the lock down is easing and in order to take full advantage of the uplift in sales it’s time to press ahead, make payments more efficient and make the payment methods buyers are already using elsewhere available on eBay.

You talk about convenient payment methods – will you accept Amazon Pay?

eBay are adding payment methods that are relevant to the way UK sellers shop – they know that UK is very mobile dominant and this is why it’s key to add Apple Pay and Google Pay. Murray didn’t say eBay would or would not adopt Amazon Pay in the future, but pointed out that Samsung Pay and Barclay Pay have greater market penetration after Apple and Google so they would be a higher priority regardless.

Tell us about the fees and what about Micro Payments?

Murray told us that eBay’s job is to make sure the right fees are aligned to the right categories and encourages sellers to sign up to find out more. If you’ve received an invitation to pre-register you’ll find a link where you can see the fees applicable to the categories you sell in (before you sign up).

On the subject of Micro Payments Murray said “At the moment, there’s no separate pricing for low priced items. Our pricing structure is optimised to work for many categories & price points including low price inventory. In specific cases there may be an opportunity to do even better. We’re looking at a number of promotional tests in these instances. We still require sellers to register for payments to take part in these opportunities.”

Is it mandatory for every seller and when do sellers need sign up by?

Murray revealed that so far, for categories which are ready for eBay payments, sellers that have already signed up account for a significant proportion of the B2C GMV on eBay. He also emphasised that they were taking a thoughtful approach back in March, somewhat tentative as to how the pandemic would evolve, but now it’s time to get on with eBay payments.

Frankly, looking from the outside in, eBay have seen rapid adoption without having to mandate signing up, online sales are strong despite the pandemic and now eBay want to push ahead with rapid adoption for a consistent buying experience across the platform.

Why are some sellers not receiving information? Why are some categories not supported?

Murray acknowledges that it’s eBay’s job to get more categories supported but if you’re selling in unsupported categories then that’s why you’ve not yet been invited to sign up.

The vast majority of categories are available for eBay Managed payments. The minority of categories that are restricted are very specific areas of interest, as opposed to broad areas.

Why should a seller register and move into managed payments?

Murray had a short answer – “It’s about time sellers had everything in one place!” eBay payments brings more options of how to pay for buyers and for sellers better tools all in one place to manage their business.

If it’s so good, why isn’t sign up optional? Is this another eBay initiative that won’t work correctly?

Murray points out that if eBay were to roll out something so fundamental and critical it would be a crazy move if it didn’t work. eBay are confident that eBay payments works and is ready and he points out that the UK is the third market (after the US and Germany), so it’s not guinea pig time – $3 billion worth of transactions have already been processed by eBay.

eBay want to push ahead so that buyers will have a consistent experience across the site and for instance won’t use Apple Pay as their favourite payment method and then sometimes find it’s not available.

What about PayPal Working Capital?

eBay acknowledge that many sellers have found PayPal Working Capital invaluable to grow their businesses and accept that PayPal will want to continue marketing this product.

Recognising that access to growth funds isn’t always easy for small businesses, eBay do have an alternative with Asto, but here’s the official statement from PayPal:

How do eBay payments impact my PayPal Working Capital (PPWC) loan?
“We want to ensure your transition to managed payments is as smooth as possible. Once your account is enabled for eBay managed payments, you may need to take additional steps to repay your PayPal Working Capital advance. When eBay manages payments, your sales activity is no longer visible to PayPal. If you’re a PayPal Working Capital customer, that means that even when PayPal is included as a checkout option, PayPal will no longer be able to see your sales or be able to deduct automatic loan repayments from your eBay sales. PayPal has a number of free and easy solutions to help you manage your PayPal Working Capital loan repayment and can also provide information about other financing options. To ensure your repayment obligations are fulfilled contact PayPal.”
– PayPal

What will sellers need to do to their listings after signing up for managed payments?

Murray’s shortest answer, one word “Nothing”!

A complaint we’ve often levelled at eBay is that they roll out an initiative and leave the work of editing thousands of listings to sellers. Not this time, eBay will do the work for you. The most you will have to do, if you have a payments policy on your listings, is to bulk update that.

When and how will sellers receive their money?

This is a big question as not only are sellers used to having access to proceeds from a sale available to spend, literally seconds after the item is sold, but they are also accustomed to paying fees monthly rather than on a transaction by transaction basis.

Murray was very clear that he wasn’t going to sugar coat (his words) his answer to this question. He explained that eBay are more aligned to the top end of payment processors for speed but PayPal is the exception. Murray refused to dress up the fact that there is a change but also pointed out for everyone that likes the speed of PayPal there are actually others that prefer fees to be deducted at source and indeed that some don’t even want daily payouts – both for accounting purposes and to avoid bank charges, some sellers prefer weekly payouts which will be made available as well as the option for daily payouts.

Will third party tools work with eBay payments?

This is a big question as it covers everything from multichannel management tools to fee calculators, accounting tools, VAT reporting tools and a host of others.

We agreed with eBay that this is hyper-important to address and we’ll follow up in a separate post to give the subject the attention it deserves. However most third party tools will work as they do today, and you can expect both eBay and your favourite tool provider to make more information available in the future if there are changes.

Do buyers and sellers have to sign up with a new payment provider and will PayPal still be available for buyers?

Murray has already stated above that they want sellers to adopt eBay payments at pace.

Buyers don’t have to sign up per se and can indeed continue to pay with PayPal. For those accustomed to paying online with popular payment methods such as Apple Pay or Google Pay, it will be a slick, fully integrated, experience on their mobile devices and every expectation is that buyers will welcome eBay payments.

20 Responses

  1. I’ll be 20p-40p-ish worse off for every sale, as I’m on Micropayments. eBay have bullied me into signing up by threatening to restrict me from making listings.

    I’ll be deliberately and rapidly down-sizing on eBay now and putting more stock on Amazon, where fees will be much cheaper for me.

    Thanks for nothing, eBay.

  2. My issue with this is that it will split our PayPal revenue and so mean a lot smaller offers on PayPal . We do circa 150k a month on PayPal which is a combination of website sales and eBay .

    Our PayPal fees and our working capital loans are based in our PayPal turnover which will now effectively be halved !

    Let’s be honest EBay have implemented this because they feel they are losing out in that lucrative transaction fees that they used to get from PayPal .

  3. This way of deducting fees at source just gives ebay a great way of fleecing you of extras.
    As well as your 9.9-12.9% FVF … drill down the bottom of the T&C’s about Managed Payments Fee Structures and you’ll find such gems as:

    International fee:
    If your registered address is in the UK, you pay an international fee when the buyer’s registered address is outside the UK.
    The total amount of the sale is the entire amount the buyer pays, including any handling charges, the shipping service the buyer selects, sales tax, and any other applicable fees.
    Eurozone & Northern Europe 0.5% – US & Canada 1.8% – All other countries 2.0%

    Seller currency conversion charge:
    If your registered address is in the UK, when you list on an eBay site with a listing currency different to your payout currency.
    The transaction exchange rate is adjusted regularly and includes a currency conversion charge of 2.5% applied on a base exchange rate.

    Other terms and conditions:
    All fees displayed on this page are exclusive of VAT at 20%

    And so it all adds up, fast!!!


  4. these folks won’t face their systems being massively time consuming when they hit our paper work.

    i’ve just done my quarter’s VAT (nation save again!) – there is a glitch in PayPal’s accounting system and getting round it has taken valuable time. No criticism of them or their competitors – its part of the game.

    i’m not going to volunteer to face that twice – for something of debatable cost advantage and no other tangible use to my customers or me.

    time to consider departure?

  5. I sell many eBay items for just £1 each. Whilst this will make no sense to many sellers, it is an important part of my business model in the collectables category where I have had 20,000 unique products listed at any one time for the last 15 years.

    Currently with PayPal Micropayments, this is no problem: 12p to eBay (10% + VAT) and 10p to PayPal (5p fixed fee + 5%). Total 22p or 22%. With Managed Payments, this almost doubles and becomes 43%!!! (30p fixed fee + 13%). The need to offer free delivery to maintain status turns this into an unacceptable loss before even accounting for the monthly eBay Anchor Shop cost, packing, the stock itself and everything else required to run the business.

    Many buyers buy multiple lots, but a large percentage of them make separate payments for each purchase (despite the incentive that I offer for them not to do this). Ten x £1 items paid for separately equates to £4.30 in fees under Managed Payments against the current £2.30 – close to double.

    Yes, on single purchases of £5 and above (in my case) Managed Payments becomes the better deal over PayPal and FVF and so for many sellers it is a no-brainer. In certain categories selling a lot of low value items, Managed Payments simply cannot work because of the outrageously high fee percentage on small value items.

    This is not another whinge about ever increasing eBay fees (although that would also be valid). It is a statement of the fact that unless the issue is addressed by eBay, a wave of sellers have no choice but to switch selling platform (in my case there are existing specialised collector sites that work and will grow quickly (thanks to eBay’s actions!!) once sellers in these categories understand how much a low-value sale will cost them).

    If eBay simply refuse to introduce some form of Micropayments, there are other solutions, albeit less agreeable ones:

    A £5 minimum sale or minimum order quantity as an example (this is now appearing on Amazon).

    A system to treat multiple payments made by the same buyer on the same day as a single transaction would be another.

    In any event, eBay need to act on this soon before sellers like myself have to transfer inventory elsewhere.

  6. Gav, putting prices up with big multi-buy discounts works in a way – but the 99p prices are used largely to propel my listings to the front of many sub-categories. Putting prices up kills that advantage. It also makes my items look expensive against competitors. A lot of buyers don’t do the maths and understand that with free postage and a multi-buy discount they get a better deal than something that looks cheap at first glance.

    The regular scenario of buyers making multiple payments then demanding multi-buy discounts to be refunded also then happens more frequently. Of course those discounts do not have to be given post-sale but then goodwill (and a customer) is lost, negative feedback increases and so on…Refunding the multi-buy discount on overpaid sales also then costs more.

    Of course the buyers bought in by those 99p prices also or subsequently purchase the higher priced profitable items.

    48% of my business is repeat business. In addition to for other reasons, the 99p listings are a visible reminder to encourage buyers to remember to come back.

    Twenty per cent of my business comes from overseas and the 99p price combined with low overseas postage helps to bring that in too, without paying any additional overseas listing fees.

    It’s complicated but a Micro-payment system seems to me to be an easy solution. It worked for PayPal.

  7. If no money is going into my paypal account how will ebay charge me for items I buy nearly every day and charge me for my monthly fee on sales?

  8. Talking with colleagues who are already on mangled payments and they are struggling with having to reconcile sales with payments. It’s causing extra resource to have to keep up with the changes and many are wondering if it’s actually all worth it.
    On another side of things we are still struggling to register for this, the ebay system being locked into some sort of repetitive loop- it’s a complete fiasco.

  9. All seems very “Cloak & Daggers” from eBay. Why not just publish a full and honest list of the fee’s, rather than saying “Depends on which categories” you happen to sell in.

    I would never just sign up for something that I don’t know what the costs are in advance.

    “Stick and carrot” with only a big stick to hit you with!!!

  10. As reported above Murray Lambell seems to have acquired an obliqueness of language which seems a common symptom of most who get towards the top of the monkey puzzle of a tree that is ebay.

    If I am really bored and have time on my hands i try to work out how much extra money ebay have made out of me from buyers paying for separate purchases but wanting combined postage. Even for a small business like mine it can be £50.00 a month. Multiple that up across all sellers and ebay can afford a legion of gardeners to prune the monkey puzzle.

    I am closing my postcard shop and moving to delcampe where you can opt to send invoices for every purchase so the combined postage issue never arises.

    Covvy, short notice USA post rate rises and more fiddling about from ebay. Enjoy the summer!!

  11. As it stands I think this could destroy me. MP hasn’t been rolled out in France yet, but the French site has no visibility (the forums are like a ghost site there). For the past 12 years I have listed on eBay UK and also set up a shop on eBay USA.

    I was astounded when I found out buyers have to pay by logging into the eBay site of the seller under MP. For example if I bought from a German buyer (as I have done several times), I would have to log into ebay.de and navigate a language I don’t speak in order to pay. How is that user friendly?

    If that wasn’t bad enough, it seems for the moment it is not possible to list on different eBay sites under MP. Given eBay is a global market, and this integration was all possible under Paypal, why roll out MP when the functionality is destroying the livelihood of some sellers, and makes the site that much harder to use? What then becomes of my US store, or my UK listings?

  12. The spirit of Devin Wenig lives on at Ebay with this nonsensical gobbledespeak

    “In specific cases there may be an opportunity to do even better”

    My god, that’s up there with the “world beating” track and trace covid system that still isn’t working yet !!!!

    What about the chaos you are causing to partnerships and others with your haste to rush this out, Ebay?

    Did you not even THINK about that?

    This is all about paying off carpet baggers on the Ebay board and tell sell the company off, all before jumping ship with massive payoffs.


  13. The ebay chaos loop lives on, we are still being requested for a company number when in the UK we are not required to have one. We are sole traders under a partnership, what don’t ebay understand about that terminology? Time and time again we are being requested for a company number and time and time again we are being told that we are not complying.
    I just give up.

  14. All im going to say is thank god my business has seen a major shift of trade away from ebay and onto other sites. In fact it has been so successful that we now close our ebay shop at weekends ( our busiest time) as we get more than enough orders from other sites.
    The buyer attitudes are different, they read descriptions, we don’t get constant ebay glitches, we get actual customer support, and now we can sleep better knowing that dealing with the almost inevitiable list of issues with ebay MP, will be minimilised by our greatly reduced trade there. Hopefully building on this years successes, we will be gone from ebay completely at some point during next year! Yay!


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