Hi, my site allows users (marathon runners) to create a marathon profile page so that they can accept donations online from their friends and families.
A marathon runner has two buttons in the profile admin section:
1 - Release Funds (funds are sent to the charity because they successfully ran the marathon)
2 - Refund Funds (funds are sent back to each of the donators because the marathon runner did not run the marathon)
QUESTION 1 - What way do you think is best way to process / handle the 2 payments above?
A - each marathon profile has a different payment status for the charity ($charity_payment_status) and each donator (in a separate donations table), so when a marathon is completed and the runner clicks the Release Funds button, the $charity_payment_status field is updated to 'payment_pending' and then a cron runs to batch process all the payments every 15 mins, and then the $charity_payment_status is updated to 'settled'.
B - do you think it would be better to process payments on the fly... so as soon as the user presses the Release Funds button, this should process the payments there and then too.
QUESTION 2 - i am planning on using paypal for payments as i need a way that i can easily refund each of the donators if the marathon runner does not run the marathon and decides to press the Refund Funds button, HOWEVER, can you think of any other payment system that might work well.
Thanks in advance to any help you may be able to give with this...
Well, PayPal is definately an option if you want a popular payment method on the website but always be careful of the frauds that are common for PayPal. Moneybookers is still an option.
Q1. Because of the potential for fraud as gedeon pointed out, Paypal option A is probably a safe option for you. You could try accepting Paypal but only allowing verified Paypal accounts.
Q2. We are in Australia so can't really suggest on the best payment option for your site but look at ones that have built in fraud protection or offline processing so you can manually verify the payment/payer before releasing funds to the charity.
Also check Stripe - easy to integrate and generates lots of buzz recently
I love stripe.com . Takes a bit of programming savvy to implement (much harder than what they make out to be at the site), but, once done - it's awesome. Same rates as paypal.
Stripe is only any use if you're US based, they don't operate with any other countries.
You should use Moneybooker or Alertpay for you payment process.
Pay pal is definitely a safe mode of payment, and option A is better as per it is doing of a cause that is better.