I’ve been using Google Checkout a lot and the short review is that I really like it. It’s simple and straightforward. A couple of clicks and my goods are on their way to me.
In contrast, I had a friend over the other day and he needed an AC adapter for his camcorder. He had never purchased anything from eBay (I’m always surprised at how few people are eBay savvy) and paying for his simple $20 purchase was a nightmare. For credit cards, eBay’s only option is PayPal. Even though we were using my eBay account, he wanted to pay for it. So we get to PayPal and it asks us to login and sure enough he doesn’t know his login. He spends a bunch of time guessing his login. Eventually, after he’s failed 3 times, there’s a prompt that says something to the effect of “forget about it, pay without logging in.” I think, “great! I can just enter cc information and be done.” I click through to the next screen and sure enough it presents me with standard credit card information fields. We fill ’em all out with my friends credit card data. We click submit and it says, “Sorry, that credit card is associated with a PayPal account, you have to login.” Argh! If I couldn’t use a credit card that was associated with a PayPal account, why did you take me to that screen at all?? I go back to the login screen and eventually my friend figures out his login… but the ordeal doesn’t end there. It’s turns out the account he could remember login info for doesn’t have any credit card information associated with it. And he can’t remember the login info for his other account that’s linked to the credit card that he has with him. So then I go back a couple of screens and I see that there’s an “other credit card” option on the payment screen, I click on that thinking, cool, they have a way to pay with a credit card that bypasses the PayPal morass. Nope, that option takes me to a screen that sends the seller an e-mail, seemingly designed for an offline, credit-card-over-the-phone scenario. Eventually, I just gave up trying to use my friend’s credit card information and I logged in with my own account and paid for it myself. Sigh.