PayStand has launched an online payments platform that allows a variety of payments modes, including Bitcoin, electronic checks and cards.
"There are reasons why you may want to pay with one method over another when making a purchase and we want to enable online payments for people may not want to use cards," says Jeremy Almond, CEO of PayStand.
The Santa Cruz-Calif.-based PayStand's technology has been in private beta for the past several months, and has secured $1 million in funding to add features following PayStand's full rollout, which was announced on April 2. Its investors include Cervin Ventures, Serra Ventures, Central Coast Angels, and TiE LaunchPad.
PayStand's pricing encourages the use of virtual currency. The company suggests merchants pass on their transaction costs to consumers, and since it charges no fee for Bitcoin payments, it's the most palatable option for the buyer and seller. PayStand charges 2.99% plus 30 cents per transaction for credit cards, and $0.25 for electronic checks (handled through Dwolla).
PayStand also charges a monthly fee, which ranges from $49 to $299 based on the level of service.
Bitcoin, a digital currency, is lately gaining more legitimacy from payment companies working to enable merchants to accept it. Square began allowing any merchant who sells on its Square Market e-commerce site to accept Bitcoin payments as of March 31, and the payments technology company Stripe began a Bitcoin pilot the week before.
PayStand's checkout system is designed for e-commerce sites, social networks and mobile apps, and can integrate with a merchant's site via a Web-based connection. PayStand is also designed to enable the different payment types, including Bitcoin, without requiring integration with third party sites.
"They don't have to sign up for anything separate to accept digital currency, it's all in one package," Almond says.
PayStand also uses responsive design, which optimizes the user interface for mobile phones, tablets, social networks and web pages by using a layer of technology that detects the user's device and tailors the content to fit the screen. Funds from transactions are automatically transferred to the merchants' bank accounts.
As adoption of virtual currency increases, merchants can broaden their consumer base by enabling its acceptance, says Andy Schmidt, a research director at CEB TowerGroup.
"It appeals to a broader segment or it can add a specific niche of customers," he says. "Anywhere in the world where you have a more tech-savvy client base can benefit by adding virtual currency payments."
But merchants should not feel as though they are lacking if they don't yet accept Bitcoin, he adds. "It's a nice to have, but not a requirement."