Online payments  are a huge and evolving market, and a new service aims to raise the stakes.

Seeing small business transactions as wide open territory that can easily be taken from banks and other entrenched companies like PayPal, startup WePay wants to give more of the payment experience back to online companies.

On Wednesday, the Silicon Valley payments company, which provides payment services for companies that transact through the web and mobile apps, announced something it calls WePay Clear. That product allows businesses to accept and process credit card payments through a "white label" process. 

WePay's new service is a direct challenge to PayPal, which also lets merchants accept credit cards online, but routes them through a PayPal page to do so. By contrast, WePay's new service will let business owners accept payments directly through their Websites. In essence, the white label feature allows you to maintain your own branding through the entire sales process.

“Most online platforms have an excellent user experience, but when it comes to enabling users to accept payments, they fall flat,” Bill Clerico, chief executive of WePay said in a release. “The problem is they are forced to share their users with payment providers and rely on someone else’s interface."

WePay's service isn't entirely original. In fact, it competes with startups such as Stripe and Braintree, but as TechCrunch notes in a recent story, it appears to go a step further by offering more substantial fraud and chargeback protection through a proprietary risk engine that monitors transactions for abnormalities. (The engine is somewhat unusual in that it uses information from customers' social media accounts.)

Together, the services of these payment startups offer a more cost-effective alternative to bank merchant services, which also allow online businesses to accept credit cards and provide payment gateways, but whose transaction costs are typically higher. 

Earlier this year, WePay received $15 million in venture funding from executives at Discover Card, eBay and PayPal. 

Published on: Oct 9, 2014