You decided to found a cell of "Al-Quaeda" in your city, but don't know
how to organize the funding? Your faithful sponspors are vainly looking for
a reliable way to send you money? Do you want to receive funds for Jihad
through your web site in online mode? These and other questions I'll
try to answer in this note basing purely on my own experience.
The reason I started to think about using online payment systems was not
so extreme. Just in one of the days the already known to you friend of
mine Wolfram Schlich proposed to add a feature so that users can donate
small sums directly from the centericq
homepage. By that time the need for such a thing had already became
imminent, for thankful users started to ask me how they could send me
some money. As you can guess, I wasn't against receiving those money,
though didn't have any plan for it to become my main source of income.
First I tried to register an account at paypal.com. It's propably the most wide-spreaded
payment service on the Net, and it's accepted by a big amount of web
sites. It was also the one recommended to me by Wolfram. But it appeared
to be made only for "white" people from "good" countries, thus neither
Ukraine nor Romania nor Russia were listed there. Not even "advanced"
states like Hungary or Latvia were on the list. To my great disappointment, I found out the
PayPal's geography was practically limited by the "gold billion" (e.g.
Western Europe and America). Strangely enough, India and China are also
supported. Though in our situation it's quite a poor consolation.
When I told Wolfram about this injustice, he proposed to use his own
PayPal account in order to receive money. He had already written an HTML
code which would do the thing. Actually it called the PayPal's web
interface with some parameters and that's how a transaction is made.
Everything what needs to be done is an HTML form in which hidden fields
represent such parameters as product name, e-mail to send a notification
to, currency code, tax, and a lot of other things. You can also specify
a web page URL to be redirected to in case an error or a refusal occurs.
Money transfer to a PayPal account from a web page is usually initiated
by pressing a so-called Buy Now button. The latter submits a form which
usually looks like the following:
<input type="hidden" name="cmd" value="_xclick">
[ parameters .. ]
<input type="image" src="someimage.gif" name="submit" alt="some descriptive text">
Besides the required "cmd", in money receive forms the following
parameters can be used (usually they are defined as hidden):
||Email address on your PayPal account
||Name of the item (or a name for the shopping cart)
||Optional pass-through variable for you to track payments
||The internet URL of the 150 X 50 pixel image you would like to use as your logo
||Shipping address. If set to "1," your customer will not be asked for a shipping address
||Defines the currency in which the monetary variables (amount, shipping, shipping2, handling, tax) are denoted
The rest of advanced parameters of such forms are described here (the documentation is only available for logged
in users). That's it. The button is ready, and now everyone who wants to
donate can click on it and send some money. As soon as a transaction is
done, an e-mail message is sent to the PayPal account adress. Sender's
details, sum and other details are included into the message. The
payment page that appears on pressing the button is protected with the
So we conclude that integration with web can be implemented easily. If
you have a free project and don't mind your users donate, or you have a
web shop, it's highly recommended to support the PayPal payment system.
There is a big chance that a potential customer would have a PayPal
account. In case you don't have a bank account or live in a "wrong"
country you can ask some friends of yours who live in one of the
supported locations. You can also ask them to create a separate bank
account for you, associating it with a PayPal account. As to receiving
of cash, it's possible to do it in many ways. The simplest of them is to
use Western Union wire transfers.
Fly in the Ointment
Due to great popularity, during all the time of its existance, PayPal
became surrounded by a lot of scary tales. Some of them are rather real,
when because of hackers' actions people really lost their money. But
some of the tales are just funny. Like, in this article by slashdot it says that hackers
"based out of South Ural, Romania" (the guys probably missed
their geography lessons back in school when learning Europe; South Ural
is not in Romania), created a web site with the domain name of
paypai.com. The site mimicked exactly the official one of the respective
payment system. They say, a lot of inattentive users got cheated by it.
If you want to see the whole list of the scary tales, consider visiting
As to the rest of the world, unsupported by PayPal, people here didn't
waste time either. The fact that on the list of currencies supported by
WebMoney there is
RUR (Russian rouble) right after the dollar makes me think it's a
Russian invention. Needs to say, this payment system is very popular on
whole the ex-Soviet space.
The reason I started considering WebMoney was just like that with
PayPal. Some other thankful users asked me how they could donate. They
were from Russia, so they couldn't use PayPal which was already
supported on the site. One of the guys kindly proposed to teach me how
to use the system, and also how to implement a web interface to sent
donations right from the web page of the program.
The whole thing is simple. First you need to go here and
register. A nice feature is that unlike PayPal, you won't need any
plastic card nor a bank account here. Once you registered, you need to
generate your certificate and save it in a safe place, just like the
instruction says. There are two ways to manage your accounts (purses):
WM Keeper Classic, a program for Windows (you guess why it didn't suit
me), and a web interface whose name is WM Keeper Light. The latter works
great with Mozilla in Linux. Thus, it makes sense to choose it in case
your situation is similar. The Light version can be accessed by the
following address: light.wmtransfer.com (certificate loaded into your
With the help of the two described solutions it's possible to manage
pursues, e.g. create and remove them, transfer funds, send and accept
invoices. I know nothing about Keeper, but WM Keeper Light is quite a
simple to use thingie. Every purse has its own identificator whose first
letter means currency. Like, R means roubles, Z -- dollars, E -- euro.
For example, the purse for donations for my free software development is
Z846530103960. It's in dollars.
Integrating WebMoney with web is quite a trivial task, though it implies
some more work in comparison with PayPal. While the latter has its own
page to enter transfer details, here you'll have to create it yourself.
Also, initial parameters are set with the help of a web interface from
the merchant.wmtransfer.com site. Here it's possible to
define an e-mail address where notifications are to be sent to, and
pages to which users are to be redirected in case of successfull
transaction or on failure. However, these parameters can also be
overriden with hidden fields in a payment form. This is controlled by
the setting called "Allow URL overrides from Payment Request Form". In
rest, such a form has only two required parameters:
||The merchant's purse to which the customer has to pay
||The amount the merchant wants to receive from the customer
Apart from those mentioned above, there are also LMI_PAYMENT_DESC --
payment description (comment), LMI_RESULT_URL, LMI_SUCCESS_URL and
LMI_FAIL_URL, that are available only in case the overriding feature is
turned on. Detailed description of the web integration can be found here. A simple donation form code would look like the
<form method="post" action="https://merchant.wmtransfer.com/lmi/payment.asp">
sum to donate (dollars):
<input type="text" class="ctext" name="LMI_PAYMENT_AMOUNT">
<input type="text" class="ctext" name="LMI_PAYMENT_DESC">
<input type="submit" class="cbutton" value="Donate">
<input type="hidden" name="LMI_PAYEE_PURSE" value="Z123456789012">
This stuff is really strange. In the Russian version of this article I wrote
that in order to switch a purse from test mode into active so that it
can receive payments, one needs to get an additional certificate of
trust. It costs several WMZ, plus one should sent them copies of his
documents such as passport or something. When I was translating the
article into English, I tried to use the web interface in English and it
allowed me to switch without any problem or additional steps! Crazy.
Besides online operations with money, WebMoney allows it to check out
funds in cash by transferring virtual sums to accounts of checkout
points. Also there are gateways from WM into Western Union and
MoneyGram. This means your own money can come to you like a regular wire
transfer through one of the two services. The only thing I haven't found
yet is a possibility to conver dollars from PayPal into WMZ. It's highly
recommended to watch news at the official web site: information about new
services offered by the system sometimes appears there.
Probably these two systems should be used to receive funds online. One
for the West, and another for the post-Soviet space. The idea is that
many people nowdays are afraid of using credit cards directly. So maybe
it's already time to forget services that use this method of payment and
make your site support both PayPal and WebMoney.