Some of you may have noticed that the donate page currently doesn’t actually work, the PayPal gateway refuses to accept. This is because PayPal has (again) limited our access, pending their verification process.
It all started a few years back when we created the PayPal account and showed it as a non-profit organisation. We know there’s no profit objective, but there wasn’t an option for it not being an organisation. When PayPal asked for clarification, we sorted it out by being adopted by the Open Source Developers Club, Inc (“owner” of the Open Source Developers’ Conference, OSDC) which is a registered not-for-profit organisation itself.
That made things ok for a while, but since PayPal is increasingly subject to legislation for financial institutions (mind you, I reckon that’s a good thing! operating like a bank while pretending that you’re not has issues) they now have more stringent identity verification processes, just like other banks. The difference is that while regular banks use a piece of paper and a human you can talk with, the PayPal process is automated. Unfortunately, their processes don’t take all permutations of Australian business and organisation types into account, and thus I have to navigate through the options as best I can, while being fully aware that it’s not absolutely right no matter what option I select. Of course, a human will look at the info provided, so I’m hopeful it’ll be sorted soon.
BlueHackers doesn’t do much with money… mainly we fund the production of the little stickers, and people make donations covering those costs. There are a few other ideas (serving the purpose of BlueHackers, not specifically aimed at raising funds) that we’ll be able to look at again once the PayPal verification process has been completed.
Finally, you may ask why we use PayPal at all. While not perfect in many ways, they do offer a service that we haven’t as yet been able to find elsewhere. Accepting credit cards through other means incurs significant setup and running costs, whereas the PayPal fees only affect payments and are very small (2.4%) considering the very low volume. A bank would typically charge 4% in such a scenario, with fixed monthly costs added also. That would eat up all our funds in overhead and thus make the whole exercise pointless.