Ecommerce-friendly Banks in Ireland?

25th of January 2008 by conor

I just got a mail from a Web2Ireland reader wondering about which banks here “get” ecommerce. His story is as follows:

I wonder if you or your readers can give me some advice on the best banks for ecommerce start-ups. The reason I ask is that I work for a training business and we added a course booking function to our site last year. When we applied for a merchant account with BOI’s merchant account arm called Evalon we had to jump through hoops.

Their problem was to do with the buyer not being present and that we didn’t sell a physical product, and that the life span of the product could be several months (because a language courses can be up to a year). Their fear was
that a student could theoretically request a ‘charge back’ on their credit card if they had a problem with their course.

We argued that this just wouldn’t happen and that if there was a problem we would sort it out by other means. Eventually they approved our application, after threatening letters to and intervention by our bank manager and a huge cash security.

I wonder if your readers have experience with these types of issues, and whether they know of a bank (with a merchant arm) that is more welcoming to these types of transactions?

This isn’t something I know anything about and I think we could all gain a great deal if we heard other stories/advice in this area.

4 Responses to “Ecommerce-friendly Banks in Ireland?”

[...] are what banks term “customer not present transactions” see a discussion on this here.) A merchant account is different and separate to your normal business account, it is solely to [...]

You would think it gets easier when you want to set up a system to send money to the bank! Unfortunately not, we had similar issues with BOI. They refused to set up a merchant account because our company address was also my home address. When asked some explanations, I was told that this was company policy and that’s it. So we had to change the company address and complete a 30 pages application with business plan and full 9 yards to get started. Oh and we also had to set up an account with the intermediary company, Realex in our case, to process the transaction. it took us a good 3 months to get things in order, a good thing we didn’t have users queuing up to send us money. My piece of advice, use paypal!

I think there is definitely scope for someone to step in here and take the online processing / merchant account / setting up an online transaction site much easier..This isn’t the first horror story I’ve heard. Why paypal doesn’t move towards a more transparent payment gateway type option is beyond me.

There is a way of doing this without the hassels. It requires meeting someone who has done it before. I have installed many of these payment systems with realex and Irish merchant accounts. Alot of the time it can depend on who you deal with in the bank and how strictly they are adhering to internal policy. If you were to adhere to the letter of the bank internal law entry to ecommerce would cost way more than it does at the moment.

It depends on what you think your transaction rate and turnover is going to be on whether you choose worldpay, paypal, endevour or realex.

The quickest we have completed a realex integration from merchant credit account to payments live online is 6 weeks.