Ok, firstly I should state that this isn’t all US companies. It could well be
a small minority. Hell, there are probably companies in the UK (where I’m
from) that do exactly the same thing. I’ll freely admit that I haven’t done an
outstanding amount of research, but I can’t be the only person that this is
The issue I’m referring to is one that I’ve seen on various websites. The one
of only accepting credit cards as payment methods.
Let me start with Basecamp. It’s an excellent
piece of software that completely revolutionised the way people think about
project management, by making it all about communication. I think the guys
over at 37signals have done an excellent job. So
what’s my problem with them? I get fed up with only being allowed one project
at a time. That’s the limit you can have with the free version of their
software, and due to the simple fact that I don’t have a credit card I can’t
use this awesome piece of software as much as I’d like to. It’s the same with
all their software.
A simple option for them would be to add PayPal as an
option. It can’t be that hard. I’m aware that PayPal does charge business for
the use, but don’t all payment gateways?
Ok lets leave 37Signals for a moment and focus on a much bigger fish:
Amazon have implemented Amazon Web Services, which
(so I’ve read) are excellent and cost efficient ways of doing certain online
tasks such as implementing file storage.
But yet again I can’t make use of these services as I don’t own a credit card.
37Signals I can forgive. They’re not a big company. It could well be fairly
pricey to add in a new payment method. But Amazon already accept debit cards
such as Maestro or Visa Delta. Only last month I bought the latest Harry
Potter book. With my Maestro card. So why can’t I use that same card to pay
for Amazon’s SSS service?
So why am I suggesting that US companies need to start thinking outside their
borders? Simple really. The US is very much a credit driven culture. Most
Americans I know (and admittedly that’s not many) have a credit card and don’t
know many more people that don’t. Over here it’s different. For most of the
people I know, a credit card is either something that you have in case of
emergency, for paying for that big expense like a holiday or for when you’re
putting it on the company expenses. I refuse to believe that there aren’t
people like me out there who either don’t want one for reasons of their own or
(like me) can’t get one for a particular reason.
Earlier I mentioned PayPal. I know that there are a lot of people out there
who don’t like it because of some of their practices regarding the closing of
accounts and the such like. But I like it. It enables me to be able to pay for
services and items from US shops and companies online. I’m not suggesting that
all companies should use them, but if they thought about making their products
more accessible to people like me who don’t own this particular payment method
then they might open up a completely new market that they hadn’t thought of or