Google Checkout merchant services
Google has snuck out yet another service (no doubt to be terminally in Beta). This one I heard about through an article about eBay stock dropping, despite having both AdWords and Analytics accouts.
I find Google Checkout very intriguing for two reasons.
First, they've undercut most of the reputable merchant account services, even Costco which was the least expensive last time I crunched the rates. Not only are the basic discount rate, per-transaction and monthly/annual fees lower, the fact that you don't need a separate payment gateway like Authorize.Net for real-time processing is another savings. Their simplified rates are also a nice change from the bait and switch experience with many merchant services companies. Many will advertise rates which can only be achieved by brick and mortar or high volume vendors, and it's only when you dig through the fine print that you learn you'll be paying a full percentage point more.
Second, Google Checkout's ease of setup makes it very accessible to new and small merchants, just like PayPal. However, while PayPal has developed some very nice tools for merchants, they haven't managed to grow past their consumer-to-consumer brand image. This can be an issue for a business who wants a corporate image—you develop a polished site, and then someone gets to your store, sees "PayPal" and starts wondering if you're working from your garage. Google lacks this narrow image, so it will be interesting to see how many businesses adopt their gateway.
Meanwhile, eBay's opening salvo in their upcoming competitive fight is not the wisest I've ever seen. Their Accepted Payments Policy for eBay lists Google Checkout as a gateway which can get you booted out of the auction service (under Some Examples click Show). While yes, Google Checkout does not yet have much of a track record, this is pretty clearly done to protect eBay, not the buyers or sellers.
Personally I look forward to seeing this develop. I'm going to be needing a merchant account in a couple months for some training modules I'm developing, and guess which service is now at the top of my list? Of course that could change if some of the other merchant services wake up and drop their rates.