WePay CEO: My Gift to the World Will Be Killing the PayPal Button

By Michael Carney , written on August 29, 2012

From The News Desk

WePay co-founder and CEO and Bill Clerico hates PayPal payment buttons. He calls them ugly, difficult to setup, and unfairly priced. According to the online payments entrepreneur, most online small business merchants agree.

Unfortunately, until recently the incumbent platform has been the most user-friendly option for non-technical businesses to accept online payments. Today, WePay has introduced the Web’s first easily embeddable payment buttons, which allow for on-site checkout without a redirect to a third-party site or the need to write a single line of code.

“Since we launched WePay, merchants have been asking for a better way to accept payments on their own websites,” says Clerico. “We want to make accepting payments on your site as easy as embedding a Youtube video, and I believe we’ve done that.”

Being the only option hasn’t made PayPal’s pricing and usability drawbacks any easier to swallow. The only alternative has been developer focused solutions like Stripe and that have been gaining popularity among startups, but couldn’t be a worse fit for the average small business.

WePay’s new offering includes “Buy,” “Add to Cart,” “Register,” and “Donate” buttons, which can be embedded through copying-and-pasting a simple line of code. The product has been extremely well received among beta users, with many reporting significant upticks in the number of transactions processed.

The service is priced simply, and competitively, with no setup, monthly, or other hidden fees. All credit card transactions are priced at 2.9 percent plus $0.30, while bank payments are reduced to 1.0 percent + $0.30.

The latter point is a direct attack at PayPal’s business model. The incumbent payment platform is notorious for directing purchasers to check out using bank payments or PayPal credits rather than credit cards, without passing any of the savings along to its merchants. This high margin business has been the driving force behind PayPal’s success, and according to Clerico, the bain of its merchants’ existence.

“Paypal is a really bad product in our humble opinion,” says the WePay CEO. “They’ve been able to maintain this monopoly, but we think it’s time for someone to give them a run for their money and actually listen to the customer. We’re really excited to offer a better solution. ”

PayPal isn’t going to sit by and watch, should WePay succeed in attracting a large percentage of its current customers. That said, Clerico is betting that as a large company it will have a difficult time shifting models and cannibalizing its existing high margin business.

Looking at the rapidly evolving online payments space, PayPal co-founder Elon Musk agreed with Clerico, admitting to the audience at our July PandoMonthly fireside chat that “if PayPal doesn’t do something, it will be screwed.

WePay isn’t entirely focused on the technophobe crowd, although it certainly is its primary target. The company also offers a white-labeled API that enables developers to customize the appearance and functionality of its payment tools. Typical use cases for these APIs are recurring charges, appointment scheduling, and integrations into other platforms which serve multiple small businesses.

WePay is well capitalized for the upcoming fight in the payments sector, having raised $10 million in a May 2012 Series C financing round led by Ignition Partners with participation from existing investors, Highland Capital Partners and August Capital. The round brought the four-year-old company’s total financing to $19.2 million.

At the time, Clerico reported 10 times revenue growth in 2011 and projected continued rapid growth in revenue and personnel through the remainder of 2012. The company is currently processing hundreds of millions of dollars worth of payments annually.

Throughout our entire discussion, WePay’s CEO refused to relent on his quest to unseat PayPal. So much so that he ended our discussion saying, “My gift to the world is going to be killing that little button.”