First, the factual news portion of this post. Here is the official eBay announcement:

eBay Checkout Update for 2011

To give eBay buyers a consistent, speedy checkout experience and to ensure support for fast-growing sales via mobile platforms, eBay announced today that third-party checkout solutions will no longer be supported on eBay after June 30, 2011.

Today less than 10% of all sales on are processed via third-party checkout solutions and the vast majority of sellers will not be affected by this coming transition.

For those sellers who do use third-party solutions, eBay checkout is being enhanced with key functionality including advanced tax reporting, more credit card integration, and advanced shipping solutions.

We are also working closely with each service provider to ensure a smooth transition to eBay checkout. You can expect to hear from your provider with more information in the coming weeks. Get more information about this update.


Todd Lutwak
Vice President, Seller Experience

People usually read these kind of updates and start freaking out because the sky is falling RIGHT THIS SECOND OMG!!!! but this update has just about a full year before it goes into effect so, chill. 

As a seller, I completely understand the following about third party checkout:

  • Sellers want to be able to up-sell other items.
  • Sellers want to be able to sell their non-eBay listed items and avoid fees.
  • Sellers want to be able to get their buyer’s info for mailing lists et al.
  • Sellers want to be able to use their own external credit card processing.

I totally understand all of this. I am a seller, as you may have noticed, and while I use PayPal pretty exclusively, I completely understand the need for options, especially on credit card fees.

But I am also a very frequent eBay buyer and, as a buyer, I HATE third party checkout. Actually, even bold and all caps doesn’t really convey  the level, it’s more like this:

And even that is kinda small because the blinkie generator cut me off on the font size.

My issues with third party checkout include:

  • Even when 3rd party checkout works perfectly, it still takes much longer to complete a transaction then when you use eBay checkout. I bought one of the eBay deals of the day last week that used 3rd party check out and it took me 15 steps before I successfully bought my $5 item. Not cool.
  • I hate being redirected to your sketchy site instead of letting me check out on eBay, who I trust. From my perspective, your site is an unclean public bathroom and eBay is my nice, clean and safe home bathroom. I don’t care how secure you say your site is, I don’t know it, I don’t trust it and I don’t want to be forced onto it.
  • I almost always have to retype all my info. I guess this is just something wrong with the API but I hate having to refill in all my info in your stupid checkout when the nice eBay checkout fills it all in for me.
  • I hate when you force me onto your mailing list by either making it the default opt in which I have to remember to uncheck or not even giving me the choice and putting me on your list against my will. Also not cool. 
  • I hate the fact that it’s Russian Roulette whether third party checkout will work or not. Sometimes it looks like you completed the order but it turns out their stupid checkout billed you twice and you have to fight with the seller to get the second payment refunded. Sometimes you think you paid but it turns out that the 3rd party checkout never actually went through so you’re sitting there waiting for your item while the seller is waiting for payment. I have had both of these problems in the past and both are a hassle I’ve never had to worry about with eBay checkout. 
  • Why do I have to learn your stupid new system? Why can’t I use the eBay checkout that I’m already used to? I don’t want to learn a new checkout system with every item I buy.

I shouldn’t be clicking the eBay buy button and going “No whammies, no whammies!” and keeping my fingers crossed that the item I’m buying isn’t going to force me into 3rd party checkout. Because if I’m sitting here praying I don’t get 3rd party checkout, you know that most buyers are taking that as a reason to stay off the platform altogether. As a seller and buyer both, I see banning it as a very good move towards an easier buying experience.

To me, whatever advantages 3rd party checkout has to a seller, that has to be outweighed by what a hassle, deterrent and frustration it is for their buyers. And if you just read that sentence and thought, “Well, who cares what the buyers think of 3rd party checkout. I need/want it.” Then you bring me back to my point at the end of this post where I explain that no business can survive that doesn’t care about their customers. If you are willing to give your customers the big FU of 3rd party checkout just because of your own needs and wants, you are seriously missing the big picture.

Now I understand there were probably people who were using 3rd party checkout that worked completely perfectly every second and their buyers loved it. I’ve never used that kind of 3rd party checkout, but, hell, I believe in fairy tales as much as the next girl and I’m willing to believe I’ve just been unlucky. For a decade. But even if a handful were perfect, this is one of those cases where a sloppy majority may have ruined things for the people doing things the right way.

I know this post will probably tick people off but, as a buyer, the 3rd party checkout was one party I’m glad they canceled.

Sellers, how do you feel about 3rd party checkout going away? Did you use it?

Buyers, how do you feel about 3rd party checkout? Hate it? Love it?