Information on Merchant Accounts,
Ecommerce and Credit Card Processing

October 2nd, 2006 by Jamie Estep

Google Checkout vs. Everything else…

Filed in: 3rd Party Processors, Ecommerce | 6 comments

Google recently released their payment systems called Google checkout. Google checkout is a fairly easy to use merchant account alternative for businesses and individuals. Google checkout offers very low fees for use, and can be completely free, if a business advertises using Google AdWords. For every $10 a business spends in AdWords advertising, they get $1 free in processing fees.

Google Checkout Implementation:
Despite what Google would like everyone to think, Google checkout is not easy for websites to implement. With the exception of a few very simple and limited uses, it is not easy to get Google checkout into an existing website, especially if the website is using a custom shopping cart system. The Google checkout API is an XML based system and is not something that most beginning programmers could easily tackle. Google does provide a handful of good scripts, but even with these, integrating Google checkout can be a daunting task. The integration scripts can be obtained by signing up for an account with the Google sandbox.

The current requirements to be eligible for the Google checkout program are a US bank account. Google is planning on making Google checkout available to more countries, but for the time being US is the only country allowed. This single fact is probably one of the biggest reasons that Google checkout isn’t more popular.

The benefits of Google checkout:
The biggest benefit right now that I see with Google checkout is for AdWords advertisers. AdWords advertisers get to display a small Google Checkout Badge next to their AdWords listings. This small image could definitely help distinguish a particular AdWords ad from the others, creating a high click through rate. Since most web users have no idea what Google checkout is, this could be taken as an unfair advertising advantage to Google Checkout customers.

The use of Google checkout on a consumer level is very limited. It is slowing growing in usage, but at this time is not a widely adopted payment method. Expect the number of consumers using Google checkout to grow over time, but unless Google really makes it beneficial for consumers, it is unlikely that Google checkout will ever compete with Paypal or Credit Cards.

I am a firm believer in making the online shopping experience as easy as possible for website shoppers and this includes making all popular payment methods available to website visitors.

The negatives of Google checkout:
The biggest complaint that I have, apart from the difficult integration, is that Google requires website’s using Google checkout to display Google checkout buttons all over the website. There are also a ton of regulations that are simple unnecessary.

Display a Google Checkout button immediately beside, above, or below every existing checkout button or link on your website.

Lets be honest here. Google is really turning off the desire to use Google checkout by forcing Google checkout users to place large Google buttons all over a website. It’s also against policy to host the Google checkout images yourself, and it is against policy to alter the images (including resizing) in any way.

Google needs to have some consideration for website owners wanting to maintain the integrity of the look of their websites. Not many respectable websites want to have Google checkout buttons all over the place. Obviously Google doesn’t care about this, because they just want more users at this time. Another deterrent to putting Google checkout on your site.

The other major problem with Google checkout, is that it is not an accepted or allowed payment method with eBay. This means that it is against eBay policy to pay or offer to accept Google checkout on an eBay auction, and doing so can result in getting suspended, or banned. Any Google checkout purchase made on an eBay auction, immediately removes all eBay buyer and seller protection. If you get ripped off as a buyer or seller, there is no recourse.

If you are an AdWords customer, and you sell products, then Google checkout is a good system. You can get that little Google Checkout Badge next to all your AdWords listings, and this is bound to help your AdWords click rate.

As for businesses just looking to accept Google checkout from their customers, my vote goes for hold off. There are simply not many people wanting to pay with Google checkout. The amount of purchases from Google checkout customers isn’t going to be worth the trouble to integrate it into your website, and wont be worth clogging up your website with a bunch of ugly Google checkout buttons designed to circumvent your existing checkout process. Anyone that uses Google checkout also has a credit card, and most likely has a paypal account. If you’re going to add another payment option for your customers, go with paypal. Wait until Google gets some people using it, wait for them to relax on their rules, and wait for it to be allowed on eBay.

The Google Checkout Blog has some good information about the Google checkout program, but expect it to be extremely biased as it is a Google blog.

Related Posts:
Google Checkout Sign-up Open
Google Payments, Update

6 Responses to “Google Checkout vs. Everything else…”

  1. Steve June 21, 2007 at 10:21 pm

    Google Checkout also suffers from having a problem with SSL on sites. If you want to display the Google Checkout accepted logo then you have to put up with your site prompting an SSL error each time it goes secure.

    The fault is that the google checkout javascript pop up which is called from the google checkout website has all its URL’s set to http rather than https.

    I even downloaded the javascript and updated it myself to still get an error because the google checkout site has no SSL on the area delivering the image.

    For a company demanding so much they are failing their customers rather badly.

  2. jestep June 22, 2007 at 7:27 am

    Try this link to the logo for SSL:

    script type="text/javascript" src="">/script>
    script type="text/javascript">showMark(3);/script>

    The first < needs to be put back in the open and closing tags, but this is working on SSL on our site without any errors.

  3. Philip Cooper September 4, 2007 at 4:23 am

    What do you mean it ‘works’ jestep. It works, ie displays, but on ie6 everytime you load a page with it on you get the ‘this page has secure and non secure items warning popup, which puts people off your site, and even makes you site look dodgy to a large % of users. Its needs to be a secure link, https.

  4. Classic Movie Store October 1, 2007 at 5:55 pm

    We are Uk based an now have a google checkout account so its not just us based merchants anymore which is handy.

    The main advantage of a google checkout account is getting the new google checkout badge appear in your adwords adverts. This improves your ctr from the ads. I would strongly recommend it for this.

  5. marthias essence December 24, 2008 at 11:18 am

    Do I need a Credit card or mastercard to use google checkout?

  6. Pam April 8, 2010 at 6:16 pm

    I am so new to making my website that I finally had to delete Google from everything and just use PayPal. My problem is that I can’e get the Google Checkout logo off my checkout page. Can anyone help me there.