WIth all the rumors about Google starting an online payment service, I wanted to share my simple idea of a payment service that would become ubiquitous on the web. While I fully expect something from Google to be simpler to use than Paypal, and scale much larger, I would love to see Google take on micropayments.
The basic idea is to support micropayments between millions/billions of buyers and sellers. To acheive this, payment processing would need to be revolutionized:
Using something simple like sxip or similar, so that login and other high costs parts of the transaction go away from a user interaction perspective.
Front $1 to every user of the system
Or, alternately, have the user put the money into their accounts in larger chunks ($10-$20 or more). This will be the first key to a massive micropayment system, acting as a clearinghouse until the bill amount reaches an amount that the transaction can be passed to normal payment processors (PayPal, Visa, banks, etc). If a company like Google fronted $1 to each user of the system, that amounts to a maximum of $6 billion global maximum, they should be able to cover that.
Reduce the cost of a transaction
Confirm and process the requests in realtime, with no transaction log. A transaction log of billions per day would be a cost to great to bear for the system to work. Figure out what the system cost of one transaction (debit to one user, credit to another) is, set some cost per transaction, and let the system run. Invidiual vendors would be able to charge whatever they wanted, and could batch up transactions until they meet some minimum that represents profit to them.
Since you are not logging transactions, some sort of fraud tracking/prevention program will have to come into place. Google could use their IP in ‘click fraud’ here as well, or you could push some of the liability to the vendor of the transaction, and allow them to choose to log the transaction or merely refund any fraud requests.
If Google actually does something like this, I believe it will be the biggest impact to the current web that they have acheived to date.