Startup WePay Sets Sights On Competing With PayPal

Flush with venture capital, payment site WePay in late July launched its new WePay Stores. In doing so, it is setting its sites on competing with giants PayPal, Yahoo Merchant Solutions and eBay for a piece of the online payments and e-commerce pie.

For small merchants or “casual vendors” (a term coined by Fast Company) wanting to launch an online store, but who are scared off by the complexities and need for having both a merchant storefront and a payment platform, WePay is touting easy-button-like functionality: Set up an online store and process payments in minutes. Pricing is simplified at 3.5% per transaction, with no monthly fees or contracts.

Here’s how WePay is framing its Storefront service:

  • Start selling items in less than a minute, with immediate access to the money you collect.
  • Just 3.5% per sale. No set up, monthly, credit card, or insertion fees.
  • Online Store: Set up a simple online store on WePay. No need to have your own site.
  • “Buy Now” Button and Widgets: Sell items from your own blog or website with a button or widget.
  • Spread the word: Tell customers about your store via Facebook, Twitter or email.
  • Customization: Set price, available quantity, details, and custom selections for your items.

Here’s an example of such a WePay storefront developed by a small business called Wee Expressions.

The genesis for WePay is a classic story of “find a need and fill it.” Business Week reported that founders Rich Aberman and Bill Clerico were very active in organizations, collecting money for events and causes. However they found the group-payment process cumbersome and knew it could be improved.

They formed WePay in 2008 to provide electronic billing and collection services through echecks, credit cards, and paper checks. The company’s initial site allowed clubs, organizations, associations – even roommates – to send bills and collect money, give out reimbursements, and spend money. Their vision earned them a spot on Business Weeks “Best Young The Entrepreneurs” this year.

Now, with infusion of millions in venture capital, WePay is ramping up its efforts in a big way to help small merchants collect money and sell things with just a few clicks.

By making it so easy, Fast Company predicts WePay could take a bite out of PayPal’s and Yahoo Merchant Solution’s market share.

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