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Use Amazon Payments with your FreshBooks

by Justin Giancola | December 20/2007 |

With yesterday’s new version of FreshBooks, the Amazon Payments service is now available to FreshBooks users. This has been in the works for a while now, so we’re really interested in hearing about some of the first user experiences with Amazon Payments. Consider what follows a quick-start guide, and an invitation to try out the service.

There are a few things about Amazon Payments that might seem a little strange, so I’m going to try my best to explain all of the “gotchas.” If anything is unclear or you have additional questions, you can either post to this thread, or email our support team or myself directly.

How does this thing work?

First off, note there are two kinds of accounts: Business Accounts and Personal Accounts. If you’d like to receive payments for FreshBooks invoices, you’ll need a business account. You can sign up over at Amazon’s site.

Business accounts are (for now) U.S.-only. I’m sure Amazon is working on adding support for other currencies; we’ll keep everyone posted as they are added, but for now, Amazon requires business account holders to have both a valid U.S. mailing address and a valid U.S. bank account. You’re asked for both when you create your business account, and if you choose not to provide this information, you won’t be able to receive any payments to your business account.

The reason for this is a little strange: unlike services like PayPal, Amazon does not deduct transaction fees from FreshBooks payments. Rather, Amazon first attempts to withdraw the transaction fee from your Amazon balance, and if this fails, so does the transaction. To remedy this, you must submit and verify your bank information, and then transfer enough funds from your bank account into your Amazon account to cover your first transaction fee. This is a bit cumbersome, but for the time being there is no workaround.

Head to Amazon’s site to find out more about the transaction fees.

How do my clients pay me?

Personal accounts can be created by anyone worldwide, provided they have a valid credit card. If they’ve ever purchased from Amazon.com, chances are they already have one, too. Note there are slightly higher transaction fees for International Credit Card payments — again, the fee structure is worth a look. Personal accounts have limited privileges in comparison to business accounts, but if you provide a valid U.S. address and valid U.S. bank account in your personal account, your transaction limits are increased.

Okay, so how do I start accepting payments?

To enable Amazon Payments in FreshBooks, head to your “settings” area and choose “enable online payments.” Here you’ll see the option to enable Amazon Payments toward the bottom; this will redirect you to their site to enter your account information. At this point, you can sign into a business account you’ve already created, or create one on the spot. Amazon will ask you if you wish to authorize FreshBooks to make payments to your Amazon Payments account. Once you have confirmed, you will be redirected back to your FreshBooks account.

Now, when you create invoices or recurring profiles, or back to edit existing ones, you will be able to select Amazon Payments as a payment option.

I have questions. Where do I go?

I hope this long-winded post has cleared up some questions you may have about Amazon Payments. Again, if you have any additional questions, please post them here, email our support team, head to our support forum or email me directly.


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