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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]

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  1. Use square I have been using it so that friends can pay me back with a credit card for 2 years. The fees are small and the all it takes is a dongle(free) and smart phone.

    • With square you can initiate a charge back with through your credit card company. This gives you protection against fraud and even items received in poor condition. If the seller doesn’t satisfy your credit card company that they acted appropriately, the credit card company will pull the money out of the sellers account.

      I’m sure some people will still find a way to defraud others, but I’m satisfied with the risks as both a buyer a seller. I was never comfortable sending a postal money order to anyone. Paypal held my money way too long, even before it banned everything I buy and sell. Maybe if Pistol pay is still around in a year or two, I’ll give it a try. Until then, I’ll let others be beta testers.

    • Ira, I’ll be kind in saying you Facebook page is a mess and with almost 700 likes you have no engagement or interaction.

      Contact me off line if you are interested in having a much more solid and coherent Social strategy.

      Eric Trytko
      Director of Social Media

  2. @ Eric, no thank you .. to the users of Square , guys, you have no recourse other then having the company try and fight for you, if your receive a box of rocks you’re stuck.. with us your not.. We have many users online making transactions daily without issues I am not say square is a bad thing but they are also a not a gun friendly company and may not support you if you get ripped off .

  3. Some online sellers that are actuall retail shops will take credit cards (with a 3% fee added). I have purchased three weapons from Gunbroker using money orders, I get them from my bank no fee’s, without a single problem. Just have to be knowledgable about the firearm you are purchasing, ask the seller questions, and look at the pictures of the weapon very closely. There is always a chance you may have a problem nothing is without risk “caveat emptor”.

    I recently purchased a S&W MP-15 .223 sporter from a local gunshop that I have had to send back to S&W with failure to return to battery problem. Figures the guns I purchased online are fine but, the weapon I purchased from the gun store has problems.

  4. I personally have received 2 phony money orders doing transactions on forums. My bank and also my credit union will not accept Mo’s over $50 any more. This is part of the reason we developed PistolPay.

  5. Just got a email from Square that my business is a prohibited business as defined by the section 6 user agreement….. WOW what a way to do business… here I was willing to give them 2 to 3% of my business and they dont want it because I deal in firearms! So they deactivated my account this morning! And to top it all off they advertise on this site!!!

  6. PistolPay is the way to go. In Jan 2013 I bought a lower from codered and used PistolPay (glad I did). Codered posted on their site a 12 week waiting period (and we all know everything was crazy at that time). Whether codered went under or was a scam from the start, I don’t know. In September I contacted Ira at PistolPay and requested a refund. I had already contacted my CC company to see what could be done (just in case). They said after 90 days that not much can be done. The point is, that PistolPay could have easily ripped me off (since my time had expired) but chose not to. Many thanks to Ira and his company and I will definitely use PistolPay again if the option is there.

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