November 1, 2019

Marketplaces and payment gateways!


So as the previous milestone indicates that we have finished the MVP product! models have already registered and we have a good start to test out our business.

Before we could launch our MVP online, we started looking for a payment gateway to start processing credit cards online.

At first glance this looks very easy task to do, after a few searches on google, we came up with the best two options (Stripe and PayPal), which are the obvious two options for any one trying to have online payments.

We started with PayPal, integration was super easy using express checkout, and here we are now ready to process payments. But wait you need PayPal business to send invoices with your business name instead of personal name. We went and applied for PayPal business it was super easy, but reading around on the forums and communities we have found that it's not as straight forward as it seems!

To have a valid business account then you need to have a business bank account opened in the country that you have registered your PayPal account from, living in Jordan we have only one bank that supports PayPal but unfortunately opening a business bank account is not that straight forward in my country as you need to register your business, get some certificates rent an office, get more certificates and some more certificates. Then you would be able to start applying for the business bank account.

So we thought to cut this time and try to incorporate in USA using Stripe Atlas, so applied to start atlas and waited for 1 week to get the "Unfortunately your business is not accepted" message, so we contacted them back to know whats the issue and the reason of the rejection. The answer was its due to the potential back charges that might be caused from our business model, so our business is considered as a high risk business.

Hmmm, after that we've started looking for other options to open our business online, one of our friends suggested to checkout the services provided through the Estonian e nation, this is another full topic that i will right about it in a full article, but as a summery we couldn't use the e nation services because we need to get the e-residency card and it can't be delivered to Jordan and due some personal stuff i couldn't travel in that time to one of the delivery countries.

Searching for the services provided by the e-nation, we've found that we can incorporate our business in UK, without the need to travel or move away from the laptop screen! one of the service providers was, from my experience they are very good and responsive, they also offered me to open a business bank account using, which i wasn't aware of how they work but as they mentioned they would give you an IBAN account then i was convinced to incorporate in UK and use TransferWise, the fees were minimal and the resources about the taxes in UK were really clear enough and somehow matching the ones here in Jordan, so i went on and incorporated in UK using 1office services.

Within 2 days my company was registered in UK, and the TransferWise team contacted me to initiate the business account process, then a few days later they have sent me some questions to complete my business validation, and here i got a heads up of the headache that i will be facing after incorporating in EU region, the TransferWise team asked me if i have a PSD2 license to work as a Marketplace and if not then i need to be using a PSD2 licensed payment gateway.

I started searching for PSD2 and what that really means, i found that the EU laws have updated the regulations for money institutes and 3rd party payment processors which have also affected the Marketplaces because they are considered as 3rd party payment processors.

Looking for getting a PSD2 license, lead us to a dead end since such a license would cost us ~200k Euro, and around 2 years of work process.

So we are left with the other option for working with PSD2 licensed payment services provider, we started out looking for options on google and we've found the following options:

  • Stripe Connect
  • PayPal Commerce Platform
  • Mangopay
  • Epayments
  • Adyen

So we've started contacting the different providers before applying to them and here is the answers we got from them and our opinion from our experience trying to deal with them:

  • Stripe Connect:
    Unfortunately you can't use Stripe Connect because your business have already been rejected from Stripe platform!

So even if they have build the solution for the marketplaces and controlling the back charges, they will still consider your online marketplace as a high risk business and it's up to them and your luck to be able to use there solution as a startup!

  • PayPal Commerce Platform:
    The platform APIs are only available for verified partners, We contacted them through the partner ship form on the PayPal website, but they have never got back to us it's been 2 months later now at the time of writing this update.

  • Epayments:
    They accepted our business model but they don't accept Jordan as a residence country.

But i have a business registered in the UK, why do you require me to live in EU or UK!

  • Adyen:
    Unfortunately we don't support your business model.

It's weird why such companies are creating solutions for marketplaces and 3rd party payment processors and then they would decline our business model which is a marketplace!

I guess these solutions are not built for startups and small businesses

  • MangoPay
    Mango pay accepted our business model, and was ready to start working with us. But after applying using our TransferWise bank details they have declined our application as they require a business bank account and they couldn't accept TransferWise as a bank account.

This was a shock for us and our team, as the fintech companies are not supporting each other and partnering together to make things easier for startups.

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