Bottom line: I'm not sure why anyone doing online business would use a traditional sales guy and merchant account. They're more complicated, somewhat quirky, and rarely as dependable as PayPal.
What am I missing?
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what you are ''missing'' is that as your business grows and you find that you need more options a traditional merchant account will often times be cheaper and offer more control than Paypal. There are websites such as www.paypalsucks.com that give a wide array of stories that explain why Paypal should not be used as the only option when processing online orders. The problem with many small merchants today that blog is that they deal with one merchant provider (usually the one that makes the most promises but with the cheapest rate - go figure), and when that provider turns out to be less than honest they make posts online explaining how bad merchant providers are.
I can assure you that any business that passes ''hobby'' stage will find a real merchant account more beneficial than Paypal
A traditional merchant account doesn't have to be a bad experience. Unfortunately the industry's reputation has been harmed by unlearned sales reps who use aggressive skills and tactics to attract merchants.
I have used PayPal though several stages of my business growth. When I was a hobbyist, I used PayPal to send and receive money with a PayPal business account.
Then I switched to their business account. I can't really remember what the advantages or problems were.
About a year ago, I switched to a PayPal Merchant account. Customers can either pay in a way that looks like PayPal or pick "pay by credit card" and use the regular credit card processing. It's worked out well for me. While plenty of merchant account vendors have tried to switch me, nobody has made an interesting case.
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