10 Online Transaction Alternatives to PayPal

Handling cash transfers through the Internet is no longer a novelty since the meteoric rise of online payment solutions. Brilliantly organized, to begin with, they help you send money, receive money, make payments for shopping, pay the bills, etc. And while we are at it, undoubtedly, PayPal is one of the prominent names that pops up in our minds. Of late though, the Internet is ablaze with a number of alternative websites like PayPal, and judging by the consumer onslaught, by all means, they are almost as effective. If you intend to experiment with these options, go through some of the best PayPal alternatives enlisted in this write-up.

Online Payment Solutions
To begin with, understand the working of an online payment service.
To process payments online, you need a payment gateway and a merchant account.
A payment gateway is a go-between the bank system and the website. The financial and personal details of the consumer are provided through this medium.
The merchant account verifies the authenticity of the financial and personal details.
It also checks if there are enough funds available for transfer.
When a customer pays through the online system, the gateway sends the information securely to the merchant account.
Once the information is verified and proved correct, the payment is made and the consumer receives a notification.
PayPal, as already mentioned, is a renowned e-commerce service that allows easy payment transfers.
Alternative Solutions to PayPal

Payoneer

Established in 2005, Payoneer is currently used in more than 200 countries.
It provides refillable debit card service apart from online payment transfers.
You are provided with a reloadable prepaid MasterCard. Card activation requires a payment, though account creation is free.
A maintenance fee is also charged per year, around USD 30.
You can transfer cash from other credit cards and banks once your card is activated. The card can be directly used at ATMs and other purchase points.
Website: Payoneer

Paymate

Paymate was launched in 2001 in Australia.
Paymate OnTheGo is one of its innovations launched in 2012, and is a credit card reader that allows acceptance of MasterCard and Visa cards.
Payments are accepted in US, Australian, and New Zealand dollars as well as European and British currency.
It is highly recommended by eBay as a safer option than many other online payment systems.
It is primarily used by sellers in Australia and New Zealand to gain access to international buyers.
Ironically, buyers need not have an account here. Their financial details are handled with utmost security as well.
Sellers are required to pay a minority fee for using Paymate.
Website: Paymate

Skrill (Moneybookers)

Skrill was originally called Moneybookers and is based in the United Kingdom.
Launched in 2001, this e-commerce business boasts of attracting more than 2 million registered users within just one and a half years.
Payment transactions are allowed in more than 40 currencies.
Customers will be required to have an account with the company website, and register their personal details.
Skrill accounts recognize users through their email addresses. And once registered, the customer cannot alter the same; it can be done only by the site.
Skrill VP offers extra features, like earning points, multi-currency accounts, tokens, etc.
Skrill offers Escrow payments and fax-sending features as well.
Website: Skrill

Google Wallet

Google Wallet is mainly used in the US, and is primarily for merchants, i.e., money cannot be transferred to other users.
It is more of a mobile payment system, and is used extensively with the help of near field communication (NFC) for faster payments.
Not more than a year ago, Google Wallet and Gmail were integrated to allow payments via Gmail attachments.
It works with most of the mobile devices, including Apple, Motorola, LG, and Samsung.
It works with MasterCard and Visa, and has innumerable merchant locations.
It has a reasonable amount as fee, and money for transfers can be sent directly from your bank account.
Website: Google Wallet

Amazon Payments

This service was started by Amazon and is available for other sites as well.
It is a fairly good credit and debit card processing platform.
Reportedly, the site does not accept any other integrated payment system.
This payment method can be used by users to purchase goods from other sites.
The best part about Amazon Payments is that it does not charge you anything. You can transfer money via any account, send money to several retailers – everything is free.
The only seemingly minor drawback is that, you cannot withdraw an amount more than USD 10.
Users can checkout using their regular Amazon account, irrespective of the payment transactions.
Website: Amazon Payments

Stripe

Stripe accepts all kinds of payments.
Unfortunately, users may be required to have a little knowledge about website coding to understand the site better.
Also, for every successful transfer, you will be charged 2.9% of the amount in addition to 30 cents.
Stripe works brilliantly with most of the credit and debit cards, including Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and more.
With Stripe, the checkout process takes place on your own site, i.e., you don’t have to go to the company site for the same.
Shopping carts like BigCommerce and Shopify are integrated with Stripe, and product transaction is made much simpler.
The site is brilliant for developers, and is customized accordingly.
Website: Stripe

Dwolla

Dwolla is one of the best alternatives to PayPal.
It is one of the most cost-effective sites as it allows free transfer below USD 10 and charges just 25 cents for transfers above this limit.
It is very quick and allows immediate cash transfer.
However, the service is available only in the US, and requires both user accounts to be Dwolla accounts.
As per recent statistics, Dwolla has more than 6,00,000 customers.
Website: Dwolla

WePay

WePay is an excellent online payment site for small businesses.
It has the same fee structure as PayPal – it charges credit card payments with 2.9% of the transaction and 30 cents.
It is reputed to have outstanding fraud detection services, which makes it stand out from the others. It also has great customer service.
Customers can purchase goods and services without having to leave the site.
Users can create accounts very easily on WePay, and the checkout options are very convenient as well.
Website: WePay

Authorize.Net

Established in 1996, it is one of the oldest online payment gateways, and of late, has been used as a convenient option to PayPal.
This service allows users to access payments through their IP (Internet Protocol) connection.
The site has more than 4,00,000 merchant users.
It has fairly good fraud protection and security services.
Not surprisingly, the site has received the Achievement in Customer Excellence (ACE) award for five years in a row.
Website: Authorize.Net

Braintree

Established in the year 2007, Braintree basically caters to merchant accounts.
In the year 2013, the company was acquired by PayPal, in essence, eBay (PayPal is a subsidiary of eBay) in a multimillion deal. However, it still runs as a separate payment service.
It is reasonably priced and has a fairly simple user interface.
It is available for most of the globe and in almost all currencies.
It has some unique integrated features, like customer support, multiple language options, etc.
However, it requires the users to have some programming knowledge to configure the site and use it appropriately.
It has a quick checkout option and recurring billing services.
Website: Braintree

The above alternatives are purely based on consumer usage and are subject to variation, but they are quite reliable. However, Paypal is one of the most popular payment systems available online. You are completely at liberty to choose whatever payment service you wish to. A word of caution though, do not take a dramatic leap. Continue using PayPal while experimenting with the other sites. Once you are confident of the others, slowly reduce the dependence on PayPal.

A List of Top 9 Comparison Shopping Engines

Comparison Shopping Engines (CSEs) are also called comparison shopping websites or price comparison websites. Let’s take a look at the top comparison shopping engines, which drive most of the product sales and revenue through search engine listings and web ads.

Comparison shopping engines list down products based on their price, and also lets the user filter them out based on features, shipping, and other options. CSEs list the products vertically, and hence, belong to the category of vertical search engines. To get listed, a seller must sign-up with them and then submit a desired product feed format. These websites can then automatically source and list data from these feeds into different listings.

Google Shopping
It was launched as Froogle in 2002, and is now the most popular CSE around, driving maximum clicks and revenue to the e-tailers listed on it. Advertisers not only benefit from the huge traffic that it receives, but also get enrolled in Google AdWords―a PPC advertising program―and their products get more exposure when they show up in the search engine results page (SERP).
Official Website: Google Shopping

Shopzilla
This was founded in 1996, and is considered as one of the top comparison shopping websites. It also features great bidding models such as zero bidding, allowing sellers to sell poor-converting products. Products listed on Shopzilla also receive the benefit of reviews done by Bizrate, and also show up in Google Search results.
Official Website: Shopzilla

PriceGrabber
This was launched in 1999, and was the first CSE to include tax and shipping cost information, thus giving a shopper a complete idea about the final price. Alongside price comparisons, it also features coupons and weekly specials. Merchants like PriceGrabber, as they can set the CPC to as low as USD 0.01, and also get the added benefit of being listed on Yahoo Shopping.
Official Website: PriceGrabber

Shopping.com
This is now owned by eBay Inc., but was founded in 1998 as dealtime.com. Dealtime still operates as a related but different website. Shopping.com also partners with TheFind, CNET, etc., to display its products and maximize product exposure for merchants. This results in better sales for merchants and more options for online shoppers.
Official Website: Shopping.com

Nextag
Nextag was founded in 1999, as a place where buyers and sellers can negotiate the prices of computer and electronic products. The range of items that Nextag allows merchants to list also includes event tickets and real estate.
Official Website: Nextag

Amazon Product Ads
Amazon Product Ads work on the PPC (pay-per-click) model. After signing up, merchants have to upload the information about their products via FTP, and then allocate the budget to be spent on ads. The ads show up on detail pages, search results, and even in the ‘buy box’ on Amazon.com, and thus provide more exposure to the items listed by the merchant on their own websites.
Official Website: Amazon Product Ads

Become
Become was founded in 2004, and includes some highly-desired features in a comparison shopping engine, like price comparison, user and expert reviews, buying guides, etc.
Official Website: Become

Pronto.com
Pronto was launched as a downloadable software in 2005, which ran in the background and let users know about the best deal on a product, by monitoring their activity on a product listing page. It was then moved to pronto.com, a CSE. Later on, it was updated with social features. Users can now buy products by checking user ratings and with the help of product buying guides on pronto.com.
Official Website: Pronto.com

Yahoo! Shopping
Yahoo! Shopping is a price comparison engine which works using the Kelkoo Shopping price comparison service that it acquired back in 2004. It obtains its results from a wide range of retailers, meaning that the user is more likely to find the right deal on the item which he/she wishes to purchase. The huge list of vendors generated by Yahoo! Shopping is supplemented with user ratings and reviews listed next to each retailer, which helps the buyer in better identifying a reliable seller.
Official Website: Yahoo! Shopping

10 Craft Stores Like Hobby Lobby

Valentine’s Day is coming up and it’s probably a good idea to make presents this year instead of the standard box of chocolates or flowers. However, if you decide to make the presents, make sure they’re not a flar-lar-lar like the one Chandler makes in FRIENDS, which is, basically nothing! Getting back to the point, even if you’re not an artsy-craftsy kind of person, I’m pretty sure you still like shopping for the supplies. I mean, it’s very hard to resist the beautiful colors and all the gorgeous material when you’re standing in a store, surrounded by them. Plus, it’s almost as if they’re beseeching you to take a look at them! Whenever I go to any of these stores, I am awestruck by the wide range of choices. Every. Single. Time. Does this happen to you, too?

Hobby Lobby, as we all know, is a popular chain of crafts stores all over the United States and is a favorite among those who love to spend their day shopping for these cheerful, vibrant supplies. However, there are others who would prefer shopping at stores similar to Hobby Lobby for various reasons, and we have found the following 10 stores particularly delightful. We bring to you a list of Hobby Lobby alternatives, in no particular order.

Craft Stores Like Hobby Lobby

Michaels
With stores located all over America and an online store that boasts of thousands of products (and not just limited to crafts supplies!), Michaels is one of the most popular alternatives to Hobby Lobby. Along with a wide range of items to fulfill your art needs, Michaels also offers online classes, and a number of discounts and irresistible online deals that will definitely make your day. Don’t forget to check out their awesome blog!

Company Website: Michaels

Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores
Carefully selected products, a wide choice, and regular attractive deals are what make Jo-Ann the much-loved company that it is. Again, the products available at Jo-Ann are not limited to crafts, but also include baking essentials, fabrics, home décor, and a lot more. Jo-Ann also offers online classes in addition to unique, creative tips on their blog. If you’d prefer shopping online, Jo-Ann does ship products in the U.S. and Canada.

Company Website: Jo-Ann

A.C. Moore
Exclusively and passionately dedicated to arts and crafts supplies, A.C. Moore has 140 stores all over the East Coast, all offering an amazing collection of items that will satiate your creative hunger. For those who aren’t living on the East Coast, don’t fret! A.C. Moore has an online store, with just the same amount of choices, so you can definitely sit at home and order whatever you want. Visit their website for special sales and discounts, too.

Company Website: AC Moore

Pat Catan’s
We can trace the history of Pat Catan’s Arts and Crafts stores back to 1954, when a former WWII pilot, Pat Catan, opened the first store of this family-owned company that would go on to expand to 28 stores over the years. Along with an assortment of the best brands of crafts supplies, Pat Catan’s also offers ready-to-wear fashion accessories. Though they don’t have an online store yet, it is worth paying one of their stores a visit.

Company Website: Pat Catan’s

Artist and Craftsman Supply
It’s all in the name, need I say any more? What started as a store opened mainly out of anger in 1985, A&C Supply has today expanded to having 23 stores located in 14 states in the U.S., as well as an online store. For great deals and discounts, check out the website of this ’employee-owned store’ that offers only the best.

Company Website: Artist and Craftsman Supply

Factory Direct Craft
Factory Direct Craft is a successful family-owned company that offers a lot more than just crafts supplies, but also home décor, decoration material for holidays and festivals, and wedding supplies, to name a few. Established in 1985, FDC has today expanded to a successful company that delivers countless delightful products practically all over the world. Yep, that’s right! Check out their website for more information.

Company Website: Factory Direct Craft

Plaid Enterprises
Plaid Enterprises is considered to be among the world’s best manufacturers of creative material, especially of items that can be used in unique DIY projects. Though Plaid does not have its own stores, it does have a large online one that offers a massive choice of creative items, in addition to making its products available through several retails stores all over the U.S.

Company Website: Plaid Enterprises

CreateForLess
With its motto etched clearly in its name, CreateForLess is the ideal choice for those looking to buy supplies in fairly large quantities. Teachers, designers, and professionals, this online store is for you! Create For Less operates online and offers a wide range of arts and crafts supplies at discounted rates. Their quick and reliable shipping policies are like the cherry on a cake!

Company Website: CreateForLess

The Hobby Company of San Francisco
Though The Hobby Company of San Francisco has only one store located at 16th Avenue, San Francisco, it does have an online store where people from all over the country can browse through and choose to purchase a variety of attractive arts and crafts products. The Hobby Company has been in this business for over three decades, making it truly an expert in knowing what we require to get our creativity buzz. Pay them a visit, or check them out online, they’re worth it.

Company Website: The Hobby Co.

Sunshine Discount Crafts
Sunshine Discount Crafts is another crafts store that, like Hobby Lobby, offers a wide variety of arts and crafts supplies. However, this company runs online and does not have a physical store as such. Sunshine Discount Crafts is one of the few companies that delivers its products all over the world, and hence, is a favorite among international customers. Plus, it has a discount right in its name, so you can’t go wrong with the prices!

Company Website: Sunshine Discount Crafts

Now that you have not one, but ten Hobby Lobby alternatives to choose from, what are you waiting for? Let that creative spark take over and help you make whatever it is that you’ve always wanted! Happy creating!