Last Thursday, LogMeIn made an announcement on its blog that GoToWebinar had a new feature: Accept Payments.
I have now had a chance to test out the functionality and I can share some details for anyone considering using GoToWebinar to charge for attendance at online webinars.
Integrated payment processing is a tremendous value-add in the webinar space. Being able to charge attendees to receive training or other business benefits is something that has many obvious use cases. GoToWebinar's implementation seems particularly easy to set up and use for small businesses or solo entrepreneurs. But there is nothing that would stop a large enterprise from taking advantage of it as well.
GoToWebinar decided to use Stripe as its preferred (and only) integrated payment processing portal. Stripe manages the secure processing of credit or debit cards - Visa, Mastercard, Amex, and Discover. It maintains linkages with your bank account and provides reporting on transactions and balances.
I did not have a Stripe account, and created one for my testing purposes. It took just a couple of minutes to create the account and link it to my business checking account using standard routing and account numbers. It was immediately available for use, with no wait time for test deposits to clear.
Once I had the Stripe account, linking it to my GoToWebinar account was a one-click operation. I was now ready to create a webinar and charge for attendance.
The first thing you need to know is that the Stripe/GoToWebinar integration is set up ONLY for payment amounts expressed in US Dollars. Registrants from other countries will be responsible on their own for figuring out the equivalent charge in their local currency. There could be situations where they would be responsible for foreign transaction fees imposed by their credit card… I can't speak to that on a generic basis.
Once you have activated the use of "Accept Payments" in your GoToWebinar account, adding a registration fee for an event is trivial. You open the payments section in Event Details and enter the price you want to charge. I did a test to see if it required whole dollar amounts, and the system was quite happy to create a fee of $1.26 - so there is no restriction there. You cannot charge less than $1 however.
Clicking on the EDIT button below Add Discount Code lets you create any number of arbitrary codes with associate pricing.
The display is not the most intuitive… In the picture above, I created code AA that changes the price to $1 and code BB that changes the price to $0. As you can see, you can add and delete codes as desired.
GoToWebinar automatically adds the discount code box and credit/debit card fields to your registration page. You cannot change the position or labels on these fields:
Note that it also changes the registration button text to clearly indicate the payment amount. If the user enters a discount code, the button changes accordingly:
This is a good place to mention one manual edit I would recommend. If you click on the picture to see the larger source image, you should be able to read the small print just above the registration button. It is default text that GoToWebinar places on the page, saying "By clicking this button, you submit your information to the webinar organizer, who will use it to communicate with you regarding this event and their other services."
Most webinar administrators leave this at the default, but when your registration form contains credit card numbers and CVV codes, you don't want people thinking that this is part of the information being submitted to the webinar organizer. You can override the default text in the webinar setup section dealing with Registration. Click the customization button for Registration Questions and scroll to the bottom of the page. You will find a toggle slider that lets you change the disclaimer text. You might want to use something like this:
Once the person registers, they receive two emails. One is the standard registration confirmation email from GoToWebinar with their login information. The other is a payment receipt generated by Stripe. You should note that the Stripe email automatically lists a billing contact that is part of your general Stripe account setup. You cannot change it on a webinar-by-webinar basis. It includes both an email address and phone number:
LogMeIn does not charge any overhead or add-on fee to use the Accept Payment service. But Stripe takes a cut of every transaction processed through it. The amount is identical to PayPal's processing fee: 2.9% of the charged amount plus an additional $0.30. I made a small table to give you representative calculations on a range of prices to see what this works out to:
The net amount is accumulated for all transactions each day and transferred to your linked bank account at the end of the day. It typically takes several days to be recognized as a deposit in your bank account however.
Stripe has a dashboard where you can log in and see the number of transactions, balances, and other information:
The only place where things get "tricky" is dealing with cancelations and refunds. GoToWebinar includes links on confirmation pages and confirmation emails letting each registrant cancel their attendance. But this is NOT linked to the Stripe system. Registrants do not receive an automatic refund. You need to log in to your Stripe account, find the user in your transaction list, and click a Refund button there. This initiates a refund to the credit card they used, which typically shows up on their account within a few days. Note that while they get back the full amount they were charged, you are stuck paying for the processing fee from their original purchase, since you never received that portion of the funds.
This is the one significant problem area in the existing implementation. There is no way in GoToWebinar to see the names and emails of people who have canceled registration. They simply disappear from the registration list online. So as an organizer, you have no idea that you need to initiate a refund until the erstwhile registrant contacts you (probably complaining about the fact that you "stole their money!").
That is my only complaint about the integration. Overall, LogMeIn seems to have created a nice, simple way to charge for your webinars. I am very happy to see this enhancement to the GoToWebinar feature set.