Carrying out a one-dollar transaction through Visa or Mastercard will
indeed cost you dearly due to the fixed fee of 25 or 30 cents per
You mention PayPal, which has recently introduced a micropayment plan
suited to businesses that sell content at low dollar values, although
this system is not yet available to the general public.
First, however, let me mention four other micropayment providers that
will let you do better than 30 cents on the dollar.
The Bee-Tokens system charges you 20 cents on the dollar.
For transactions of $5 or less, Paystone charges you a 10-cent fixed
fee plus 2.8% of the transaction value.
Paystone: Online Merchant Account Fees
The Peppercoin micropayment system does not have fixed fees at
any price point, since charges depend on account volume and other
variables. According to published reports, however, you can expect to
pay less than 10 cents for a 99-cent transaction.
Peppercoin: Technical Specs
"On average, Peppercoin's fees are typically 10 cents or less
for a 99-cent transaction."
EContent: Peppercoin Introduces Version 2.0
BitPass has two different pricing structures, since fees are higher
for those who want BitPass to host content on their behalf. If you are
hosting your own content, BitPass charges a 15% fee for transactions of
$5 or less.
BitPass: BitPass Professional
BitPass: What are your fees?
Finally, what about PayPal? According to published reports, including
PayPal's own press releases, they have recently introduced a micropayment
plan that charges a fixed fee of 5 cents plus 5 percent of the transaction
value for payments under $2. There is no mention of this on the PayPal
website, however. It seems that those who are interested in setting up
a micropayment account will have to deal individually with PayPal by
writing to email@example.com . On the other hand, I have also
found a weblink that will supposedly let you sign up for such an account
directly. It wouldn't hurt to try both methods if you are interested in
going this route.
"An extension of PayPal's existing payment service for digital
music providers, PayPal's new micropayments pricing is designed
especially for payments less than $2. The new fees will enable
merchants to process payments at a rate of 5 percent plus 5 cents
per transaction. [...] Merchants can learn more about PayPal's new
micropayments pricing by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org ."
shareholder.com: PayPal Introduces New Micropayments Pricing to Increase
the Convenience of Purchasing Digital Goods
Gartner: PayPal's New Micropayment Pricing Will Dominate Market
"If you wish to leverage PayPal's micropayments pricing, please open a
new browser window and paste the link below into the URL field to open
your new PayPal account with micropayments pricing of 5% + $0.05.
tradebit: New PayPal micropayment rates