Things are starting to change in the Bitcoin ecosystem and not all of those changes will be welcomed with open arms. BitPay, the world’s leading Bitcoin payment processor, will no longer offer their “free and unlimited” plan to new merchants. This is in stark contrast to earlier promises of keeping this plan around “forever”.
BitPay Shakes Up Bitcoin Payment Processing Plans
BitPay’s “free and unlimited” Bitcoin payment processing plan was first introduced to the world in July 2014, as the company wanted to sign up as many merchants around the world as possible. Giving these merchants the option to accept Bitcoin payments and convert the funds to fiat currency without additional costs is part of the reason BitPay became a household name.
When the announcement regarding this plan was made by executive chairman Tony Gallippi, BitPay’s intentions were to keep this structure around forever, unless they would reach the 1 million merchants mark before 2017. However, there seemed to be plans in place to keep fees to 0% for as long as possible, to let the Bitcoin ecosystem grow exponentially.
That being said, it looks like BitPay will no longer be offering this plan to new merchants and replace it with a new “Starter Plan”. It goes without saying this new plan is far less enticing for merchants looking to venture into the world of Bitcoin and virtual currencies. Whether or not small merchants will be affected by this change remains to be seen.
“The new Starter Plan will remain free for up to $1,000 daily and 30 transactions per month, giving many small businesses more than enough access to our platform for their needs. Right now, nearly all merchants processing enough transactions chose to upgrade to a paid subscription package.” – BitPay Executive Chairman Tony Gallippi told the media.
BitPay’s new “Starter Plan” is aimed at small merchants who are not expecting a major change in how customers pay in the near future. A few extra orders paid in Bitcoin will fall well below the 30 transactions per month limit, let alone reach US$1,000 or more per day. For those merchants who surpass these thresholds, future transactions will be subject to a 1% fee.
But that is not all that has changed, as BitPay’s Business Plan has undergone some modifications as well. Rather than charging a flat US$300 fee every month, all transactions processed on behalf of Business Plan merchants will be subject to a 1% fee. Depending on the Bitcoin transaction volume processed by these merchants, they could very well end up paying over US$300 per month in fees.
Other Bitcoin Payment Processors to Step Up?
Merchants around the world don’t have to worry though, as there are many more Bitcoin payment processors at their disposal. At this time, most of these companies are keeping their 0% fee structure intact, for both payment processing and converting to fiat currency. The best option would be for merchants to keep the funds in Bitcoin, but given the current price volatility, that is not always possible.
GoCoin, one of the other popular Bitcoin payment processors, has been charging a 1% fee on all payments for years now. However, GoCoin also processes Litecoin and Dogecoin payments, while converting those virtual currencies to fiat currency as well. Depending on the type of audience merchants want to reach, GoCoin might be the better option compared to BitPay for the time being.
Source: BitPay Blog
Images courtesy of BitPay, GoCoin