Paystand is going after the next frontier for payments – really small companies

Sell to BigCo: done

Market to Consumer: done.

SME is the next frontier. SME is like the forgotten middle child defined by what they are NOT:

SME is NOT BigCo

SME is NOT Consumer

That covers a huge range, all the way from a one-man band to a company that to most of us looks big, but which is not Global 2000 big.

At the top end of SME, it is possible to sell scaled down Enterprise solutions.

At the bottom end of SME, solutions need to be consumer-friendly (in UX and price).

I have long been fascinated by Micro-Multinationals, probably because I have run a couple.

Micro-Multinationals need to accept payments online. That is the problem space that Paystand is going after. When I saw their recent press release, it resonated with me because of my experience hacking together a site for a non-profit event which I describe here. WordPress was great, PayPal was a pain. I was thinking next year of using the next hot payment venture – Stripe. But PayPal has a new entrant that they acquired as well and you can read a comparison here.

Into this massive but crowded field, comes PayStand. It caught my eye because of integration with WordPress. It does this through WooCommerce, which is a plug-in to WordPress. A plug-in to a plug-in sounds awkward, but I am taking it on faith for now that it will work. I have not used WooCommerce yet, but was planning to (they power 20% of websites e-commerce, so I am still in the dinosaur 80%).

Getting payments via Credit Cards should be easy. It could be made easier and PayPal and Stripe seem to be working on this. The question is, can I accept payments without using a Credit Card? Can I save that 2.9% fee? Yes, I can by asking people to wire the money, but that is a pain for them; it only works for larger orders. (It looks like GoCardless is attacking that problem, but not for cross border transactions.)

The really broken payment space is cross border. My little hacked-together site was for a sporting event in Switzerland. So we need to pay people in Swiss Francs. So we charge in Swiss Francs. But we need to accept payments from people in UK and other countries. The vendor is paying the CC fee, but the user is paying for the currency conversion and if it is via CC you won’t want to look at that number  – it won’t make you happy.

That is where the Bitcoin part of the Press Release headline caught my eye:

PayStand payment gateway seamlessly integrates with WordPress’ most popular eCommerce technology, bringing online merchants Bitcoin payment option and more

Of course, as with all things Bitcoin, I have to then figure out how to convert it back to Fiat. Also my customers are not natural Bitcorati, so I guess they will pass on the Bitcoin option. As with all things Bitcoin, my working assumption is that all holes in the Bitcoin ecosystem will be seen by entrepreneurs and will therefore be filled. So, exciting potential, but for this particular micro-multinational this goes into the “wait and see” bucket.

PayStand is an interesting addition to the payments landscape.


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