Ever buy a gun from someone over the Intertubes, either on your own or via a site like GunsAmerica or similar? It’s not easy and it can be risky. But the biggest problem can be paying for the damned thing. PayPal (owned by eBay, so go figure) won’t let you use their credit card service to pay for anything as icky as a gun. That leaves the average buyer two options: cashier’s checks and money orders. For a while there was GPal (nee GunPal) but that crashed and burned in a spectacular ball of lost money and legal entanglements. But now comes a new service called PistolPay that’s aiming to give gun buyers and sellers a safer, secure way to do bidness . . .
PistolPay’s COO, Ira Goodstadt, told us that the new (about four months) venture came about because gun guys like him were tired of assuming the risk…and sometimes getting burned trying to complete transactions the current way. So they’ve designed and built some safeguards into their system that a service like PayPal – even if they didn’t hate you – doesn’t offer.
What’s different? In PistolPay’s world, everything goes through a third party “dealer”, otherwise known as an FFL. Which is something you’d be doing anyway. You would, right?
Anyway, once the payment is made by the buyer, the seller’s notified that it’s OK to ship. And here’s the cool part: the buyer can check out the item (firearm) to make sure that it’s all that. If not, he rejects it and gets his money back. If it really is the ballistic thing of beauty the seller advertised, the buyer (or FFL) gives the electronic go-ahead, the gun’s handed over and the cash is transferred to the seller. And to provide buyers even more security, funds are held by a third party (i.e. not PisolPay) until a transaction is completed.
So what does all this security and peace of mind cost? It’s not cheap, at least if you’re using a credit or debit card. All fees are split equally between the buyer and seller. Card transaction fees are 5.4% total (2.7% charged to both buyer and seller). Wanna save money? You can set your account up for ACH transfer (soon to be activated). Then it’s only a 1.6% charge to each party.
PistolPay’s also going out of its way to associate themselves with some prominent names in the shooting world, the first being Rob Pincus who tells us he’s checked out their processes and is now a spokesman for them. A couple of other notable names (competitive shooters) are also in the works, but not public yet.
Will that give you a warm fuzzy about using the new service? Time will tell, but it can’t hurt. And it’s nice to have another option, no? [h/t Jewish Marksman]