Avangate eliminates PayPal fees on payments

I recently switched from Plimus to Avangate as my primary order processor, because Avangate has much better support for Japanese.

I receive my payments to my PayPal account, but when I started getting payments from Avangate, I noticed that PayPal was charging me a fee of around 3.9% of the payment. I never had this fee with Plimus, and needless to say an added 3.9% fee made Avangate pretty uncompetitive cost-wise, so I contacted Avangate and asked them what the story was.

After a bit of a delay and some back and forth, including me sending them screen shots of my PayPal page showing the fee for Avangate and no fee for Plimus, Avangate responded that they had changed their payment method to “mass payments,” and will cover the cost of transfer from now on. From their email to me:

We are currently using the PayPal service called „Send Money” to transfer the revenue to our partners and the commission is paied by the person receiving the amount.

Plimus was sending you the money through „Mass payments”, where the transfer fees are lower and they are paied by the sender.

We are willing to use this Mass payments service for your company, so there will be no cost at all for you when the monthly transfers are taking place.

The upshot is that I’ll no longer have the 3.9% PayPal fee charged for my payments from Avangate, and I’m a happy camper again.


Poor support for Japanese at Plimus: worse than I imagined

I already blogged about poor support for Japanese at Plimus here and here. By the lame form email they sent me each time I reported a bug with Japanese, I knew that they had no interest in supporting it.

That’s why when a customer pointed out the fatal bug in their Japanese page, I jumped ship and went to Avangate.

Plimus provides a Japanese-localized order form, but it turns out you can’t enter Japanese text in the name field!

EPIC fail by Plimus

In this form, I’ve entered a common Japanese name under “customer information” — Taro Suzuki — and the red error message is telling me I’ve made invalid input. The only way to complete the form is to write the name using the Roman alphabet — it won’t accept Japanese characters on the Japanese page.

Plimus masks this critical bug from vendors. It has a feature to “test drive” purchase pages, and allows you to enter Japanese text there with no errors. What I later realized, however, was that behind the scenes Plimus changes any name you enter on the test page to “John Doe.” I’ll assume this wasn’t intentional on Plimus’ part — they just seem completely clueless about handling Japanese, and show no desire to learn.

Luckily, a customer emailed me and told me she was having problems entering Japanese text on the purchase form. No telling how many customers simply gave up when faced with this bug, but my logs do show a number of people located in Japan navigating to the Japanese purchase page, but not completing the form.

Here’s a summary of the bugs I’ve found in Japanese support at Plimus, and which made me drop them as a payment provider:

  • Can’t enter Japanese text on Japanese page
  • Can’t customize purchase page with Japanese text
  • Yen prices shown to two decimal places

If you’re selling to Japanese customers, I recommend not using Plimus. I switched to Avangate, which has flawless support for Japanese.

From my research of resellers, Avangate is probably the only solution for selling to Japanese customers apart from rolling your own shopping cart with a merchant account, or using something like PayPal. As a one-man shop, I have only limited time to dedicate to Felix. I’d rather spend that time improving Felix than dealing with payment providers, which doesn’t help my users. That’s why it’s too bad that Plimus couldn’t meet my needs.