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Transitioning from Paypal to Authorize.net

  • 3 Jul, 2012
  • Phil Hong
  • 0 Comments

One of our clients recently requested to change the payment gateway for her website from Paypal to Authorize.net. We have been using Paypal for 5+ years but the relationship has always been tenuous. First some background:

We went with Paypal initially because it allowed us to customize the entire check-out process and hide Paypal from the end-user entirely. This approach took a lot of effort but in the end it was worth it. The easy Paypal solution requires you to send your customer to Paypal’s website to complete the transaction. This is a jarring customer experience and we wanted full control over the checkout process. With Paypal’s Payments Pro solution we were able to keep the customer on our website and interact with Paypal in the background. Paypal’s rates were competitive at the time and the solution looked professional. From Day 1 we were happy.
Then Paypal started demanding we include their “Pay with Paypal” buttons on our site. This is part of their user agreement but we continued to believe taking our users to another website to complete the payment process was a distraction that we did not want. We chose to reject these requests. Nothing happened for the first few years. Finally about a year ago Paypal finally started charging higher rates because we did not offer Paypal as a payment option. Now Paypal was no longer competitive so we started shopping around.

Finally we found a solution that had much lower rates and used Authorize.net as the payment gateway. Authorize.net offers two API solutions that allow us to hide the payment gateway details from our customers. One is called Direct Post Method (DPM) and uses the client’s browser to post all payment details directly to Authorize.net’s servers. The benefit of this method is that it is easy to achieve PCI compliance because the customer’s payment information never traverses your server. There is no opportunity to store (and later lose) customer’s payment information. However, this method is significantly different from Paypal’s advanced integration method so it would have required a lot of code rewrite.

We settled on Authorize.net’s Advanced Integration Method (AIM). This method is very similar to Paypal’s API so the amount of code rewrite was minimal. Plus we don’t have any requirements to advertise Authorize.net services on our website. We pay them a reasonable fee for their services and they are responsible for their own marketing. This is a much better arrangement for us.

If you are considering a move from Paypal to Authorize.net, please contact us and we would be happy to provide you with a free consultation.

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