P2p markerplace payments... with a catch. Any clever solutions?

Hi everyone - I’ve had some amazing help from this forum so I thought I’d pick your brains on this… I will say that I’m a total beginner at this,

I am creating a non-profit p2p ‘marketplace’ to match people with items to donate (specifically children’s outdoor clothing) with people on restricted incomes who need them. Right now I’m creating a simple version of the site and hope to secure some corporate sponsorship but right now this needs to be as low cost as possible.

Most of the items listed will be posted and the users sending them have the option of covering the cost of postage themselves or asking the user receiving the item of paying the postage cost. I’d like to make it as easy as possible for users to send and receive postage costs but:

  1. I can’t really ask the sender to pay the payment fee (for stripe connect etc) as they’ve just kindly donated an item
  2. I can’t really ask the receiver to pay the payment fee, the whole point is they’re struggling financially.
  3. I definitely can’t afford to cover the payment fee myself!

So it seems like my options are:

a. Require the sender to supply something like a paypal.me address when listing an item with a postage charge. Then direct the receiver to the sender’s paypal.me url when they request an item. They input the postage cost themselves, complete the payment, then close the paypal tab to return to my site and click a button marked ‘payment sent’ or similar. This is such a mess - it makes the user do a lot of work, relies on them to follow instructions & get the postage amount right, and I have no way to confirm that they actually sent a payment.

b. Keep the whole payment side of it off site - just put the requesting user and sending user in touch so they can sort it out between themselves.

What would you do? Are there any other options or services I’m missing? I would really appreciate any advice or suggestions. Thank you!

I’d lean into option b, keeping probable user personas (and lean MVP) in mind.

  • Donors willing to invest time in listing items for a cause like this are not going to balk at a few bucks postage, IMHO. If anything, it’s logistics of getting to the post office that might slow down a few conversions (First World laziness & conditioning). Maybe include links to UPS/FedEx home pickup instructions?
  • Recipients struggling financially may be unbanked, not have a PayPal account, and/or not be setup to transact online easily to offset cost via digital commerce.
  • If you’re set up on Stripe, you could put a “Say Thank You” button/form on the site where recipients can send a note to the donor (and maybe upload a photo of kid wearing item?), and optionally pay a nominal gratitude fee. I’d pitch that as a donation to your service, to keep it growing and help fund your mktg/outreach to get more needy families on the platform.
  • For donors, a personal thank you note/photo from the recipient is going to feel much more meaningful than getting postage reimbursed. Also, testimonials are great for your landing page - building 2-sided marketplace is hard, the more options for virality the better (eg make sure you have “Invite Recipients” and “Invite Donors” call-to-action buttons all over the place.
  • For recipients squeamish about accepting charity, kicking back a couple dollars to the app that made it possible for their child to have a winter coat would feel good.

Just my 2 (or 3.5) cents. Great idea, best of luck!!

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@djwideman makes a lot of good points.

Additionally, I’d start with letting people figure it out off platform at 1st because it’s by far the easiest to implement, which means you can launch earlier. And, you can see how this goes. If it goes well, keep it. If not, then you can invest in another process.

Once you have customers using your product, you’ll start to get lots of feedback from them on how to make your product and the transaction process better, so best to get something out there quickly. Optimize for learning as fast as possible instead of trying to build the perfect product for launch. By focusing on learning about your customers wants, you’ll end up building a great product.


Thank you so much for this thoughtful reply - I am also leaning towards option B and your other ideas are incredibly useful! Lots to think about here, thanks again.

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Thank you, that’s a very good point. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of thinking the first iteration has to be perfect, there are lots of things that will be guided by user feedback so best get it out the door and into the wild! Thank you so much for taking the time to reply.

What do you mean by p2p? player to player? I know one website https://mmoauctions.com where you can buy wow gold https://mmoauctions.com/world-of-warcraft/gold and you can pay for them by declared by sellers payment method. another good way its g2a payment but it is very hard to have approval from them. You need to collect lots of docs