Google Checkout: First Impressions

This past weekend I had the opportunity to take Google Checkout for a test drive. If you’re not familiar with Google Checkout, it’s an online payment system that lets you track your purchases from a wide variety of merchants all in one place. Google Checkout is tied to your Gmail account — you do have one, don’t you? In order to use the service, you just shop as you normally would, and then choose Google Checkout when it comes time to pay. Since you pre-load your payment info into the Google interface when you set up your account, all you have to do is login and confirm your payment.

One nice feature of the service is that they allow you to keep your e-mail address confidential — i.e., rather than giving your address to the merchant, Google will forward messages from the merchant, and you can shut off unwanted e-mails. Another nice feature is that they’re currently offering $10 off $30 at a number of merchants (including Timberland.com, where I bought some new hiking boots using a 50% off coupon which was stackable with the Google discount), and $20 off $50 at some merchants (including Buy.com; thanks Cap) just for trying Google Checkout.

Google Checkout might also be worth checking out (no pun intended) if you receive payments online… Their fees are $0.20/transaction + 2%, which is considerably better than PayPal’s $0.30 + 2.9% fee, especially for larger transactions. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that you have to send an invoice in order to get money — you can’t just give someone an e-mail address and expect to get your cash.

Another big difference between Google Checkout and PayPal is that Google Checkout only serves as a conduit for payments, such that money goes straight into your bank account rather than landing in a standalone account (as is the case with PayPal). Whether this is a good or a bad thing depends on your perspective. It’s not all that surprising, though… Google is know for their lightweight, uber-efficient interfaces.

Overall, I liked the user experience, and I also like the fact that I can log back in over at Google and see all of my purchaes in one place.

4 Responses to “Google Checkout: First Impressions”

  1. Anonymous

    I recently tried using Google checkout and had problems.
    They have some software bug/bugs that create problems when updating a credit card.
    Over a 5 day period and many emails exchanged
    they were unable to process my credit card although I had no problems at several other sites.
    The inability to have any phone contact exacerbates any problems

  2. Anonymous

    One more score for Google. I really like those guys. I have been a longtime Yahoo fan, but it’s things like this that make the switch tempting… Hopefully the lower fees will also put some pressure on PayPal to lower their fees. Use it or not, I see that as an overall benefit for the consumers.

  3. Anonymous

    I like the feature of keeping your email address private and the lower fees. Unfortunately I do all my online selling via eBay, which obviously doesn’t allow the use of Google checkout.

    I know PayPal provides API’s for integrating its service into your application, I assume Google Checkout does as well?

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