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July 28, 2007

Is Google Checkout Confusing?

The Banking Unwired blog writes that Google Checkout's problem is that people have to overcome many barriers before using the service. And to do that they need to be really determined to use Google Checkout.
The benefits to users are many, including a central place to manage all your online purchases, added protection from someone fraudulently using your credit card, and limiting the chance for commercial spam. While this objective remains a noble one, its current incarnation of creating a parallel and optional path for users means a disjointed experience. The benefits of Google Checkout are only truly realized with an all or nothing approach. But getting there might be difficult given the customer experience kinks it has to overcome.
The author finds it strange that you should follow the Google Checkout badge, which may not always be very visible. Most people will choose the default checkout option because it may appear more convenient. They'll also ask questions like: "Who would I call for customer service issues? Where can I track my order or shipping? If I have a payment question or want a refund, where do I go?"
While the many benefits of Google Checkout outweigh its issues, the challenge of Google Checkout is one of adoption, data integration, branding, and how to provide a seamless customer experience. Having it as an optional add-on checkout option, however, raises the interesting prospect of increasing the confusion quotient, which was the original impetus for the need for Google Checkout.
So Google's main challenges would be to increase Google Checkout's awareness and to make the checkout experience better once you decided you want to use Google Checkout (a plug-in or a Google Toolbar option could help). Google is already heavily promoting Checkout in its shopping search engine.


  1. GCO is superior in UI design, however I don't use it for 2 reasons:
    1) I do not want too much information about me concentrated in one place. Google already knows too much about me for comfort.
    2) GCO is not PayPal. Can't send money to others or receive money. That said and given 1) above, I see avsolutely no reason to use it

  2. The author finds it strange that you should follow the Google Checkout badge
    Isn't that the same with paypal?
    which may not always be very visible. Most people will choose the default checkout option because it may appear more convenient.
    That's not really Google's fault, it's the web page's designer. If they want people to use Google Checkout, they should be the one that makes it more visible and easy to see.
    They'll also ask questions like: "Who would I call for customer service issues? Where can I track my order or shipping? If I have a payment question or want a refund, where do I go?"
    Aren't those the same question you would ask if you paid with Paypal?

    I also agree with weshatheleopard's second point. Google would gain a lot of users if they added the ability to store money and send it to other users.

  3. Yes, I find GCO very easy to use - saves me creating accounts on multiple sites.

    Does anyone think Google *cares* about who you are and what you buy, on an individual basis? Honestly, those paranoid people should get over themselves! Give the choice, I'd use GCO over Paypal any day.

  4. Not only paypal would have the same issues, but what about Visa and Amex? If you pay for your Best Buy purchase with Visa, do worry about what happens in the event of a payment question or service issue?? Strikes me as a very poor argument.

    I would like to buy everything thru Checkout, would save me plenty of hassle.

    If you are worried about privacy, they make this stuff called "CASH". People love it.

  5. Yes - as a Web designer and a consumer I find two things wrong with GCO:

    1. To "Send and Invoice" you've got to dig around in the "Settings" tab, much more difficult than the PayPal process, and there's no tracking of invoices of any sort, unless a person actually pays the invoice.

    2. I can't really just leave a certain amount of cash in Google Checkout to speed up the payment process and pay other folks.

  6. Google Checkout makes closing the sale faster. It provides a single, simple interface to a disparate world of checkout forms and it lets users mitigate annoying "Create an Account" requirements. It also provides some sense of security. I personally do feel that Google is better equipped to treat my credit card number with care than say, Bob's Wholesale Lumber Online...

    I would have disagreed with the question posed in this post, but I just placed an order two weeks ago with a Google Checkout seller and I received the wrong product. I tried using the Google "Contact Seller" form (twice) and the seller hasn't even responded. (I'm tempted to post their name, but I'm exercising self-control). Now, I feel like I have to sacrifice any convenience and anonymity that Google Checkout has provided to me in order to contact the seller outside of the GCO system. At this point, the Google Checkout system reports that it is uninvolved. There's no way for the seller to respond in Google Checkout nor for me to keep a record of the dialog alongside my purchase. I'm not even sure they've received my message!

    I feel like I've gained nothing from GCO on this one, except for a bad recommendation on a highly visible seller, a headache, and a lot more bureaucracy and hoop-jumping than if I had just purchased my dang recycling bins directly from another seller.

    I have to say yes. GCO has me confused. I think they have some work to do.

  7. Google has become Big Brother to a lot of people. They have too much information on eveyrbody. I'm not sure that I like that at all. i mean Google Maps just got hacked. what's next? As the all-powerful Google expands its realm for Universal Dominance, I wonder what will be lost and what will be affected in a negative manner. I still prefer Paypal. It does have more features like sending money and receiving money. The point is that Goolge is spreading itself really thin and trying to be everything to everybody could catch up with Google. I appreciate their approach, but Google needs to perfect what it's doing now. So Google checkout has a ways to go before it can compare itself to Paypal. This is just a case of trying to compete with a giant that does only one thing, help people buy and sell online. Google needs to catch up and then think about passing Paypal.

    Definitive Synergy

  8. Its a shame. The service should be classified beta. It is a quagmire to use.

  9. As a online merchant, eCommerce developer and a consumer, I looked in to GCO soon after it became available, and the first thing I did (which I assume most people do not) is read the GCO terms of service agreement. I was SO SHOCKED at what I read that I just closed the window and said "No Way!" Just 3 paragraphs in to their agreement you are giving google the right to pull your credit report and/or do background checks on you at any time for any reason. Excerpt:

    You also authorize us to obtain from time to time a credit report and/or to otherwise make credit or other background inquiries as we deem appropriate to evaluate your registration for or continued use of the Service.

    Way on earth would google need such power just for me to buy something online. As a merchant I do not ask for this power from my customers. If I did, would expect very few sales if any.

    Google has created many great things and has help the internet and software communities greatly, however Google needs to get over itself; all giants fall eventually.

  10. Bought a laptop from last Thursday using for the first time using Google Checkout. On Friday afternoon received an email from that the order was canceled because Google Checkout declined the transaction. The credit card is good and the information is correct?? Double checked the information and made sure the credit card was correct. Re entered the order with on Saturday morning using Google Checkout (this time without the $10 credit promo because I am not now a first time customer). Today Monday afternoon I get an email from informing me my order has been canceled because of Google Checkout. On Friday morning I ordered extra memory from another company using the same credit card with no problems. I don’t know if the problem is with Google Checkout because email is their only venue of communication with customers or is it with because they have raised the price of the laptop $50. In any event I will avoid both companies for what I think is unethical.

  11. I have met the problem saying that "There was a problem processing your GoogleCheckout method of payment for your order #222222
    and consequently we had to cancel that order."

    I do not know what's wrong with google checkout?

  12. The first time I used Google Checkout it worked fine and was very easy to use. I prefer it to PayPal, no problems here!

  13. I've had a very similar experience to a couple of others posting here. Mine was a computer order, I received an e-mail stating that my order had been canceled due to security reasons. Apparently the cancellation was by GCO, and I'm now in the process of trying to get the funds credited back to my account. As it stands right now, I don't have a computer being shipped to me, due to the cancellation, and I don't have my money back so I can re-order. GCO is unimpressive, at best, and they will not have to concern themselves with me using their services in the future!!

  14. YES!! This is a major issue. I am a merchant and I have lost 3 deals and turned away several prospects until I get this resolved.

    Google does not allow the person making the purchase legitimize his/her identity. They just use cancellation if there is any question. T

    I am now in the process of setting up with paypal. I hear it is better but the start up process is LONG.

    I have upload 9 documents to prove my company is real. And then it took 4 business days for them to acknowledge my docs have been received. Now I am waiting 3 to 5 business days for the docs to be approved.

    I have also signed up with and I will pay application fees if necessary. At this point I will $500 just to get this process moving.

    It really sucks GCO has the nerve to ruin businesses and piss off customers with no resolution.

    Google should stick to search engines and ads.

    Sorry so long... I'm a little pissed.

  15. I am with Wesha on this one. I simply have not checked out Checkout as I don't want to give them one more vital information that Google is looking for to build complete identities of people.

  16. Google Checkout sucks. They wasted so much of my time and my clients.
    I just heard a vendor of mine state he had a $30K charge from a client and now they will not give him the funds OR return the credit to the clients card. This has been going on for almost 4 weeks. So GCO has stolen $30K and won't let it go.
    WOW!!! I can't believe it.
    Let me give you a tip. Go to Bank of America. Open a checking account. After a month or two apply for their merchant account. It has a start fee but you will be accepting cards with in 24 hours. It is a virtual terminal so don't worry about having your clients sign up for an account and faxing over thier life. Just collect the funds.

  17. When I say open an account I mean a business account.... I started with $8,000 and deposited about $10K the next month. This may have helped my approval... not sure.
    B of A even gives my a credit with in 24 to 48 hours right into my checking account. Very nice.

  18. Google Checkout is horribly confusing and not "user friendly" at all. I signed up with GCO yesterday and had to cancel my account today! I've been an Ebayer for 8 years, used Pay Pal most of that time, and it was all cut and dry. But, I'm making the mass exodus away from Ebay like thousands of others, thought GCO was like PayPal, signed up, and found out otherwise! I'm sticking with PayPal.

  19. Google api is great can manage my own site data base.


  20. I think there are a lot of very confused posters. No vendor will ship without being paid. If the charge is declined then no funds were removed from your account. Your bank said NO.

    I wonder if Ryan has read the PayPal User Agreement?
    Of course a business needs to provide credit references, any real wholesale vendor will require the same information. This is no different from any other merchant processing service, just scaled down and a lot less expensive.

    As for Nathan preferring to "leave a certain amount of cash in Google Checkout to speed up the payment process", what's to speed up? How much faster than instant do you want? Why would you want to leave money in an uninsured and unregulated account that can be frozen for 180 days because an $8 an hour clerical worker says so?

    Why is Steven blaming GC for the sellers lack of response? In what way is the payment processor responsible for that? If you had paid with a credit card on a website would you blame MC or Visa when the seller failed to respond?

  21. I tried to use google checkout today, the money appears on my bank statement as having been paid, but Google says the transaction was declined by my bank. My bank says the money was sent. Has anyone else had this problem?

  22. These guys will say anything. Not even ebay one of googles best customers trusts google check out and has stated that they are not reliable and will not be allowed as a form of payment on ebay .
    Try a google search of ‘ google check out sucks” and on this search term alone you will find 157,000 pages of pissed off google checkout customers. In the “google answer forum” that google refers to for answers on google checkout is thousands of unhappy customers that have no idea why they are being treated so badly and ask for advice on a way to contact a human at google check out..
    Google checkout is run solely on the google name and auto responders. google checkout has pissed off so many people that they no longer even have a phone or fax number for their customers to contact them.

  23. I HATE GOOGLE CHECKOUT THEY WON'T GIVE ME BACK MY MONEY ON A 1500$ PURCHASE. I really really need this money, I have nobody to talk to at google, I don't know what to do... I've never felt so cheated by a company before, I feel like they STOLE my money. I can't tell you how bad is my situation because of this.
    Same as all the other people, they cancelled the order and then wouldn't give me back the money.



  24. Google Check Out staff supplement their income by stealing credit card information from customer records. It is very common and management knows about it and condones it. Just today my congressman agreed to introduce a bill to regulate third party checkout services like Google Checkout. It looks like their day of reckoning has come.

  25. People have issues with PayPal and Google Checkout. For those who can't reach either need to contact their states attorney generals office.


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