Up until now there has really no way to collect credit card payments online without going through a middle-man site like PayPal, Google Wallet, or Amazon Payments. If you wanted to collect money through your website directly you’d have to signup for something like PayPal Pro — or a merchant account.
These merchant accounts typically charge $20-50/month as a base price + some processing fee. The money is not much, but if you are running a seasonal business, or only accept credit cards during certain periods like conference registration it can be a waste of a few hundred bucks per month for this short term added convenience.
We’ve been fans of Braintree for quite some time — they offer a very easy way to get PCI complaint while storing customer’s cards. This makes things like taking recurring payments hassle free.
It looks like they updated their pricing and got rid of their monthly fee which was around $30/month. Now it is inline with PayPal’s pricing of $0 / nothing per month + 2.9% + 30 cents per transaction for AMEX, VISA, MC, DISCOVER.
Given that it is PCI complaint out of the box and the same price as PayPal + it gives the ability to take cards directly, we recommend this solution for all low volume (< $250,000 per year) merchants.
We’ve also built in Braintree integration for our conference registration, membership dues collection, and awards application fee collection systems.