Since we launched uShip in 2004, we have heard from our users that payments are a major source of friction. For customers, it’s inconvenient to have to make multiple payments, and it can be hard to understand all of the various and sometimes complex payment terms offered by different service providers. It can also be a difficult leap of faith to trust a service provider whom you’ve never met with a significant payment.
Fortunately, while we have not seen many, we have had several cases of fraud involving wire transfers, Western Union, and other forms of payment that we don’t endorse or allow. This is just not something we want to allow to happen on uShip. For service providers, it’s inconvenient and time consuming to keep track of and collect payments. Occasionally customers accept bids without the ability to pay, resulting in cancellations or even non-payment. It can also be difficult and expensive for service providers to get merchant accounts to accept payments from customers who prefer to pay with a credit card (as the majority do). Most importantly, the lack of an easy, safe and consistent way to pay providers on uShip causes a lot of would-be shippers to not accept their bids.
As we pre-announced last week, we have now rolled out an online payment option on our US site.
Over 18 months of testing have gone into this improvement (big thanks to our users who participated in the pilot), and we feel that this new payment system solves many of these problems. It’s easier, safer and more convenient, and our testing shows that customers prefer it more than 50% of the time. Our participating service providers recognize the value and need for this, and many have asked for us to even move to 100% online payments.
Here is a quick summary of how online payments work:
- The customer is given the choice to pay in full at the time of accepting a bid (option available on bids less than $2,750 from service providers with 90%+ positive feedback and feedback score >10).
- Those that choose online payment are given a payment code which they will give to their service provider upon confirmed delivery.*
- Service providers can enter the code online or via their mobile device, and the funds are immediately made available for withdrawal. Funds can be withdrawn a number of ways – by bank transfer (ACH), instantaneously via PayPal transfer ($1), loaded onto a uShip debit card, or via check. You can update your withdrawal methods here. Please see our blog post from last week for more details on how online payments work.
*With the exception of animal transportation,where the code can be requested/required at pick-up per USDA regulations.
We recognize that change can be difficult, and that implementing a standardized payment policy for all of our service providers may cause problems and force some to change their policies or practices – but we feel strongly that this is the right move for the long-term success of our customers and our service providers. We will be closely monitoring this new payment option and will quickly make any changes if necessary. As always, we welcome your feedback.
Some comments from our users:
“Initially I tried Googling for [carriers], but the diversity in their terms and conditions and the lack of control over the payment made me worry about picking the right one. The payment method [on uShip] was great: the [carrier] knew I paid uShip in escrow via Paypal (easy!!) but only upon delivery did I give a code once the bike was inspected.”
“We have been accepting SafePay for about a year now and have found it to be an added asset to our business. We have had no problem with accepting payment codes or receiving funds. The transfer has always been instant from Safepay to our PayPal account.”
“Easy to access and provides all the needed information to make a safe, secure and overall successful shipment. In addition to the secure way to provide payment, the site offers interaction with the provider and fees paid once service was provided. This site is a must for anyone looking to ship important items through a secured system.”
“Our drivers do not have to worry about collecting or handling cheques, or cash. Knowing the shipment has been paid via credit card also gives us more guarantee of payment. I have had less hassles with it, than excepting payment by cash or money order on delivery.”
“There is more flexibility for the customer and has allowed us to deliver on weekends when banks are closed and the customer can’t access funds. I also find people who pay up front using a credit card are far less likely to cancel their shipment and I have not had one cancellation.”
“Our customers like it and use it. I hate the fees, but as most businesses know, accepting credit card payments is not cheap, whether you are a retail store, big business or small home based business. Unfortunately, there are fees involved for accepting credit card payments. This is the cost of doing business and in today’s market, many people choose to use plastic.”