Debunking Payment Processing Myths for Indy Cam Girls

indy cam girls on webcam

Recently on a camgirl forum of which I’m a member and moderator, I read a thread about payment processing for indy cam girls that contained a whole bunch of myths and incorrect information. Since evidently some of these myths and fallacies are pretty wide-spread, as judged by the comments in the forum thread, I figured I’d take a moment to debunk some of the main fallacies I encountered.

In writing this, please note I’m discussing payment processing for indy cam girls from the standpoint of someone who uses payment processing for individual, non-recurring payments from customers. Indy cam girls who run paysites have different needs and concerns (recurring monthly payments from customers, affiliate programs, etc).

Myth 1:  Indy Cam Girls and Affiliates Have the Same Needs

In discussions about different payment processing options for indy cam girls, many camgirls believe that CCBill is the best option to choose, simply because CCBill has long been a consistent leader in processing for adult porn sites. In truth, while CCBill is a great option, at 85% payout it offers one of the lowest payouts among the main processing options (CCBill, Zombaio, Epoch and Verotel) and charges $1000 per year in order to be able to accept Visa and Mastercard. The reason why CCBill has long been a leader in payment processing for adult porn sites is because affiliates who promote porn sites prefer subaccount systems wherein payments are sent directly from the processor (in this case, CCBill).  In this way, indy cam girls who use listing services and affiliates do have an interest in common, in that processing systems that allow for sub-account payouts minimize risk of losing one’s funds should the owner of the website decide to close up shop.

It was only fairly recently that Epoch, Zombaio et al. created payout systems similar to CCBill affiliate programs, meaning that until recently adult sites that paid out with CCBill offered far more protection than other options. That’s part of the reason for CCBill’s popularity. As indy cam girls who run our own websites and handle our own processing, the security aspect of CCBill affiliate systems isn’t relevant, as we handle our own payouts for ourselves.

Myth Number 2: Zombaio Decline Rates

One of the main criticisms I read about Zombaio involve the supposed sky-high decline rates characteristic of this processor. In truth, a few years back Zombaio did have an annoyingly high decline rate but that has diminished significantly over the past two years, to the point that my customer credit card decline rate is actually slightly lower than my decline rate for processors I use elsewhere. I don’t have any broad stats on Zombaio decline rates, I’m only basing this on my own personal, anecdotal experience. Please don’t take my opinion for anything more than that. That said, in the 14 months I’ve had a high and steady volume of client bookings through my own Zombaio account, and my decline rate has been incredibly low. As an added bonus, Zombaio blocks the types of fraudulent bookings other processors can let slip through, such as male customers who use female names (a HUGE warning sign for stolen credit cards) and temporary email accounts.

With Zombaio, I’ve found two types of customers may encounter issues making payments: those who use a proxy IP and those who are based in the US and don’t have their credit cards set up to allow for international billing.  That said, allowing international payments and whitelisting Zombaio with a credit card company/bank only takes a quick phone call, and again, sometimes other billers require the same sort of thing. Yes, it’s a pain in the ass for all involved, but it’s not frequent and pretty easy to solve.

I’m not trying to promote Zombaio. I have no affiliation with the company and there’s nothing ‘in it’ for me to write this, I’m simply relaying a personal experience that belies a lot of the criticism I’ve heard about this particular processor.

Myth Number 3: Indy Cam Girls With Members Sites Have the Same Concerns as Indy Girls Who Only Accept Individual Payments

While I have had a great experience with Zombaio in the 14 months thus far that I’ve had my own merchant account, if I was building a paysite I would probably investigate other options. The reason why is that many affiliates seem to have bought into the same myths about Zombaio as have indy cam girls, and beyond that for some reason Zombaio charges quite a steep fee simply to send an affiliate payout via check in  regular mail. If I was running a pay site that relied upon an affiliate program, I’d probably want to choose a processor that is most popular amongst affiliates, as a way to encourage them to promote my site. That said, indy cam girls who book only individual, non-recurring payments from our clients we don’t need to take anyone’s concerns into account other than our own.

There are never any guarantees in life. Major adult IPSPs (internet payment service providers) have closed in the past and it’s entirely conceivable that something horrible could happen again in the future to mimic the fall of iBill and ePassporte. For that reason I personally think it’s wise to keep one’s options open, and always have alternate payment options, even for indy cam girls who have our own merchant accounts. That said, in choosing a primary processor it helps to make choices based on careful consideration instead of rumor. If you’re an independent camgirl in the process of selecting an IPSP, I hope this post marks the beginning of your search to find the option that’s best for you, based on your own circumstances, customer base and business needs. All of the processors mentioned in this post have websites where you can check out the rates, fees and restrictions of each option.

Good luck out there and happy camming. 🙂

Love Your Independent Cam Work

independent cam girl Quinn in tight black dress

Ok, first off I want to state that even though I love independent cam work I know even the best job has crappy days, so this isn’t some fan service piece on why each and every client/shift/day is oh-so perfect. Life is life, and some days suck no matter what one’s occupation. That said, what inspired this post was an email I received from a newly independent cam girl who basically composed a rant delineating everything she hates about the job, and then inquiring as to how she could boost her independent cam show income. Huh?

Independent Cam Work Can Be Anything We Want It To Be

The above title is why I love independent cam work; I can shape it to suit my needs, my interests, my lifestyle. I’d actually argue that all camgirls possess this advantage but as independent cam girls we have more latitude than most. We don’t have to worry about cam site rules, customs and preferences, we can organize our work and shape our personas to suit us, rather than the other way around. That’s what I found so surprising about the aforementioned email I received, the chica was complaining about aspects of her work that are entirely under her own control, aspects that she has the power to alter.

Feeling burned out and need a break from skype and live cam shows? Shoot videos and post them for your regular clients to enjoy in your absence, or post your phone sex line for live sex without the cam component. Offer text chat over skype, or just ignore your messengers until your favorite clients drop by. Tired of trolls asking for paypal and previews? Ignore and move on. Most camgirls don’t have the luxury of being able to direct our playmates to any site or service we choose, so to not take advantage of this benefit when need be is to miss out on one of the coolest features of independent cam work.

I receive a lot of emails from newly independent cam girls asking for tips and strategies on succeeding in this niche, and while I try to be encouraging and helpful ultimately this niche is a difficult one in which to thrive. Very few camgirls who ‘go indy’ actually succeed in attaining a sustainable high income doing independent cam work, but a guaranteed recipe for failure is disliking the work, disliking one’s clients, feeling that as an independent cam girl one can just phone it in and go through the motions without negative repercussions.

Indy is hard, full stop. Creating, maintaining and growing a client base is hard and sticking with it through the ‘trial and error’ period is hard. If you don’t find a way to enjoy your time in this niche you won’t succeed, both because you won’t be able to perform to your full potential and because you’ll ultimately resent the time you’ve put in with little in the way of sustainable reward.

All that said, independent cam work really can be anything we want it to be; we’re independent entrepreneurs and we decide how to run our own businesses. What I’m arguing here is that if you don’t approach the niche with that in mind you will burn out, you will return to the cam sites and you’ll have missed out on an amazing opportunity to do your own thing on your own terms. To carve your own space you need to actually care about it though, you need to find something fulfilling in what you do in order to make all the hard work worth it.

I haven’t as of yet responded to the aforementioned email, to be honest considering the tone of it I suspect she’s left the niche already, but still I thought it was worth writing about here if only to give new skype cam girls a sense that they’re not alone if they’re feeling frustrated. Never forget that YOU choose how to run your business, and that as a skype camgirl you have the privilege of designing your work to suit you. There’s tremendous power in the fact that you decide how you work and when you work. In sum, find something to love in this field or chances are you will crash out. Not every day (particularly when just starting out) will be sunshine and roses, but if you embrace your job as YOU define it you’ll build a strong client base who enjoy you because you enjoy them, and your hard work will pay off.

Beyond that, life is too damn short to not love what you do. Good luck out there.

Skype Webcam Girls and Payment Strategy: Independent vs Sub Account

nude skype webcam girls looking cute on cam

Like all entrepreneurs, as skype webcam girls we need to employ conscious strategy when designing our independent webcam businesses. In designing our businesses, deciding how to handle payment processing is one of the most important decisions we can make, and that’s why it’s been such a frequent topic in my information for skype webcam girls blog posts.

Deciding how as skype webcam girls to handle payment processing essentially comes down to a choice between three options: independent merchant accounts, sub-accounts of payment processing companies or a combination of the two. As I’ve explored before here, amazon gift cards, gift rocket and payoneer private loads are not suitable options for skype webcam girls who are creating thriving and expanding independent businesses.

The Pros and Cons of Independent Processing For Skype Webcam Girls

Since true sub-account payment processing companies tend to be very low risk from a security-of-funds perspective, the main benefit for skype webcam girls who handle their own payment processing is financial. When I decided to go completely independent and created my own Zombaio merchant account all of a sudden I was earning an extra 15% from each skype show booking I received, and over the past year that has added up to a pretty significant sum. Strike that, I earn a massive sum of extra money simply by handling things myself. For that reason, despite the hassle of installing the Zombaio script the effort was more than worth it for me from a financial perspective. An additional benefit of having my own processing is that I can scrub my own purchases, reducing my charge back rate by paying attention to the payment codes that are provided along with each customer booking.

The main downside of handling my own processing is that I eat the cost of chargebacks, as some processors charge a fee over and above the cost of the chargeback. Luckily (knock on laptop) I’ve yet to receive a chargeback on my own processing due to my personal scrubbing system, but the risk is there for skype webcam models who use an independent merchant system.

The Pros and Cons for Skype Webcam Girls Who Use Sub Accounts For Processing

The main benefit for skype webcam girls who use sub-accounts is ease of use. There’s no hassle installing payment scripts, and you don’t even need to host your own website since most payment processor companies for skype webcam girls offer payment links hosted on their servers. An additional benefit is that, since most adult payment processors (with the exception of Zombaio) require upfront annual fees, sub accounts can actually be more financially beneficial than independent merchant accounts for skype webcam girls who are still in the process of building their businesses and do not book high steady volumes of funds. The main downside is that sub-account processing companies typically charge 20-25% (a combination of processing fees and profit), compared with independent merchant accounts that typically take 10-15% percent for processing fees alone.

Skype Webcam Girl Strategy: Combining the Two Systems

So we’ve explored the pros and cons of independent vs sub account processing for skype webcam girls, but designing a strategy can be more creative than a simple ‘one or the other’. An additional issue to keep in mind is the concept of cascading billing, which is employed by most large scale adult companies. Cascading billing involves a set-up that provides additional payment options to clients and customers that were declined by the primary biller. This system increases sales simply because it’s not uncommon for legitimate clients to be declined by one processor, only to be accepted by another. For example, my primary processor occasionally declines even some of my most frequent clients, so having additonal payment options to offer them allows them to make a payment for a webcam show even when they are declined by my primary option. While I obviously strive to keep the majority of my clients to my own independent merchant account, having additional payment options increases my income, even taking into account the additional fee charged by sub account companies.

Issues For Skype Webcam Girls to Keep in Mind When Selecting a Payment Processing Company

The twin primary concerns for skype webcam girls who use payment processing companies are payout percentage and security of funds. In regards to the former, look for a company that charges no more than 20%, at maximum 25%. At 20%, you’re only losing 5-10% compared to handling payment processing independently. In regards to security, ideally skype webcam girls should choose companies that use a true sub-account system, where you have access to the ‘back end’ and receive payments directly from the processor, not the company providing you with the sub account. Having access to the back end allows skype webcam girls to ‘scrub’ their own purchases (thus reducing chargebacks) and receiving payments directly from the processing company reduces the likelihood that you’ll get ripped off if the provider of the sub account decides to close their business. Speaking as someone who had to sue my prior payment processing provider to receive the funds I’d earned through their company (happy ending, I sued and got paid back in full), security of funds is not a given when dealing with a payment processing provider. Had I been receiving payments directly from the processor when my old provider closed up shop, I would have received my funds as usual, without having to file a lawsuit.

Not many payment processing options for skype webcam girls offer true sub-account systems, so in choosing companies that handle sending out payments it’s important to select companies that send out funds weekly, with a very low payout threshold. That way, even if the worst happens and the company takes off with your funds, you’re only out at most a weeks worth of funds. Also, I would advise skype webcam girls to only select companies that offer adult-friendly payment options. Payment processors that offer skype camgirls paypal, for example, are doing you no favors. They don’t care about the security of your funds so your chargeback ratio will be sky high, and they don’t care about the sustainability of their payment system (paypal is NOT sustainable) so it’s just a matter of time until they close their businesses.

One of my top choices for skype webcam girls who don’t wish to handle their own independent processing would be CamGirlServices.com, a company that provides low cost and secure payment processing for camgirls. I’ve worked with this company for a couple of years now, and while I no longer use their processing in my cascade for my own customers (as they offer Zombaio, for which I have my own independent merchant account), I’m impressed with their system because it’s a financially optimal and secure option for skype webcam girls who don’t wish to host their own processing script on their own website server. CamgirlServices offers a true sub-account system with a 78% payout sent directly from Zombaio, meaning that security of funds is guaranteed and the cost of their service works out to $12 on every hundred earned, as compared to having one’s own independent Zombaio account. This is a great company that’s been around for quite a while, and I highly recommend ’em to anyone looking for a high percentage and zero risk payment processing option.

Update: In response to payout issues experienced by some merchants who use Zombaio, I’ve also created a payment processing option for skype webcam girls that balances high, frequent payouts with a low payout threshold. For further info please read this post.

There’s No One ‘Right’ Method For Skype Webcam Girls Designing a Payment Processing Strategy

These days it seems like everyone and their brother is offering payment processing to skype webcam girls, but out of all the options out there only a few offer secure payment processing at a low cost. While I highly recommend that established skype webcam girls with their own customer bases select independent merchant accounts, sub account payment processing companies do fill a legitimate need and can be a tremendous ally in building and maintaining successful and growing independent webcam businesses. The decision on how to handle payment processing is an individual choice each of us needs to make for ourselves (as each skype webcam girl will have her own unique business needs), so design a system that works best for your needs, think strategically and choose your partners wisely if you decide to go the sub account route.

Options for Skype Webcam Girls

CamGirlServices.com:

High payout (78%), no risk payouts (sub-account system)

PayMyShow.com:

High payout (80%), low risk payouts (immediate withdrawal of funds with no minimum), wide variety of payment processing options

LiveCamModelShows.com:

Highest payouts (80-85%), low risk (weekly withdrawal of funds with a $20 minimum, (plus I own it and I’m not about to fuck over my peers).

Options I’d Suggest Skype Webcam girls Avoid

ANY site that offers paypal as a payment option to customers

Skyprivate.com:

This is a relatively new addition to the payment processing scene, and while their payout is within the standard range of 75% their model contract contains some glaring issues. The contract grants the site exclusive use of one’s cam name (this is NOT standard in independent camming) and the right to sell your content commercially. This means that not only are you giving the site a percentage of each show, you’re providing the site with free content they can resell. Also know that selling adult content within the US requires that the seller provide 2257 documentation, which means your private information (ID scan, full name, etc) could be passed along to the purchaser of the content. The contract also (bizarrely) appears to prohibit ‘hard core sex shows’.
Additionally, skype camgirls who have joined this site have reported that charge-back ratios are unusually high and that receiving payments can take up to a month, which is not ideal from a security of funds perspective.
For the above reasons I’m personally quite wary of this particular site, and I haven’t been impressed by the owners refusal to respond to questions regarding his unusual contract terms.

Indy Camgirls, Gift Cards and Wishlist Issues

indy camgirls in erotic art

In my last post regarding alternative payments for webcam shows I touched on Amazon Gift Cards, which seem to be one of the most popular options used by indy camgirls who dabble in indy camming. While Gift Cards are assumed to be a risk-free payment option, I wanted to clarify how to use gift cards safely and to clear up any confusion regarding gift cards and wishlists, which are two entirely separate systems with their own respective procedures and risks.

How Indy Camgirls Use Amazon Gift Cards

In selecting any payment method, security and anonymity are vital factors. For this reason, smart indy camgirls create ‘work’ amazon accounts that don’t have their real names or addresses attached. This is because it is possible for customers to contact Amazon and inquire about the personal info of the individual to whom they sent the card. From there, the most important thing to keep in mind is that you need to redeem the gift card prior to performing a cam show or sending content. Up until the gift card is redeemed it can be cancelled, so waiting until a later date to redeem to gift puts you at risk of being ripped off. Receive the card, redeem it and then perform the cam show. 🙂

Many camgirls assume the it’s impossible for shady customers to chargeback gift cards, and while chargeback rates with this payment option are very low, it is possible to have a gift card refunded if a stolen credit card was used to purchase it. Know that even after redeeming the gift card there is a very slight chance you’ll have the value of the card refunded.

Amazon Wishlists and Indy Camgirls: Issues To Keep in Mind

The main thing to keep in mind when creating an Amazon wishlist is that as an indy camgirl your privacy needs to be a top concern. For that reason, smart indy camgirls set up a P.O. Box through which to receive wishlist purchases, as the wishlist system does leave quite a few holes in security of private information. The primary issue with Amazon wishlists is that many items featured on Amazon are sent via a third-party distributor, and third-party distributors tend not to uphold Amazon account privacy settings. This means it’s quite easy for customers to track down your name and address if a wishlist purchase is sent through a third party. Unfortunately even confining one’s wishlist to items delivered straight from Amazon itself isn’t a guarantee, as I’ve heard of indy camgirls who had their account information shared with purchasers when the purchase was confined to Amazon itself. For that reason, I’d suggest no indy camgirl set up an Amazon wishlist without having a P.O. Box or other anonymous address through which to receive gifts. The risks of having your address and full name revealed to any random person on the internet is just too high to take chances.

Another issue with wishlists is that they aren’t viable options for cam show payment. Up until the time an item is shipped the purchase can be easily cancelled by the purchaser, so wishlist purchases are NOT a secure payment option for skype cam shows or custom videos. If you do want to accept wishlist items as payment, wait until the item actually arrives prior to performing the skype cam show or sending the video, as up until the day it arrives at your door there is no guarantee you will actually receive the item purchased.

Amazon Gift Cards and wishlists will never replace secure and reliable payment processing for skype cam shows, but for indy camgirls who do want to avail themselves of these systems it’s important to know how to do so safely, protecting both your personal information and your time. In sum, never attach your real name and address to an Amazon account you use for indy camming customers, and always redeem gift cards as soon as you receive them, prior to completing a skype cam show or video order. Lastly, let your customers know that wishlist purchases are not a viable form of payment and never perform a cam show based on a wishlist purchase you haven’t yet received.

While I don’t accept Amazon Gift Cards and don’t have a wishlist, these are great services for indy camgirls provided they’re used appropriately. Safety first, always 🙂

Alternative Payment Methods For Webcam Shows

camgirl in blue silking performing webcam shows

Before I begin, let me state that I think the processing rates for so called ‘high risk’ services such as adult-oriented webcam shows are ridiculously high. That said, many new independent camgirls don’t seem to understand the importance of having sustainable payment processing such as Zomabio, CCBill or Epoch, so I figured I write about the pros and cons of the ‘ad hoc’ alternative payment methods most commonly used by newer independent camgirls.

Gift Rocket

Gift Rocket is an American-based system through which camgirls with a Gift Rocket account can receive ‘gifts’ or payments from customers. The pros are that the cost of sending money to another party are borne by the person sending the money, not the recipient. This means that processing costs for the camgirl are zero, and the customer pays the fee of $2 plus 5% of the total gift amount in processing costs. The other main benefit of using Gift Rocket is that the customer does not need to have his own Gift Rocket account in order to send money, he simply uses his credit card to send the agreed upon amount to the camgirl’s email address that is registered with the site. The customer never sees the camgirl’s name, address or identifying info, making Gift Rocket safe and anonymous, which is important for our purposes.

The main downside of using Gift Rocket as payment for skype webcam shows is that only customers located in the US can use it, the service does not allow people from outside the US to send funds through their system. Independent camgirls outside of the US can create a Gift Rocket account, however non-Americans can only withdraw funds through paypal, which is NOT a safe or sustainable solution. If you use Paypal as an independent camgirl in any capacity related to your webcam sex work, it really is only a matter of time before your Paypal account gets frozen or suspended.

Another negative about Gift Rocket is that while the recipient of funds receives the ‘gift’ immediately, Gift Rocket only debits the customer’s credit card at a later date, meaning that there is no guarantee you will get paid for the webcam shows you perform. If the credit card is declined at that later date you are totally out of luck.

Amazon Gift Cards

Amazon gift cards are a popular payment option for independent camgirls providing skype webcam shows, as these cards are anonymous and safe, provided you always redeem the gift card prior to starting the cam show. The main drawback to these cards, and the reason I don’t accept them myself is because I can’t pay my bills with gift cards or deposit them into a savings account, I can only spend them on consumer goods. That’s great if you’re a fan of online shopping (I am not) but even for those of you who are Amazon gift cards will never be able to replace payment processing.

Payoneer

Payoneer private loads are an efficient and low cost payment option for camgirls offering yahoo and skype webcam shows, but there are significant drawbacks to the service as well. First off, the good: the fee for private loads is 3.75% and customers only need the email address attached to your payoneer account, they don’t need to create an account themselves. The downside is tha as of now only payoneer debit card holders can accept private loads, you cannot do so if you receive payoneer payments via direct deposit/global bank transfer. This means that while the fees for receiving payments are low, the expenses attached to card maintenance and withdrawal of funds from the card are expensive. Further, unless you regularly receive payoneer payments from a registered partner (such as a cam site) your card will be deactivated and your ability to accept private loads removed.

Payoneer is a great service but they aren’t a payment processor, and are quite vocal about it. As a camgirl you are not permitted to put a Payoneer payment link on your website, and your ability to accept private loads is at the sole discretion of the company. Expect that as your volume of payments rises your ability to receive private loads will be curtailed.  See this link for further information on the payoneer private load policy.

Another drawback to using Payoneer as a payment option for webcam shows is that customer payments are not transferred immediately, there is often a two day hold on the customer making a payment and the funds being removed from his credit card and appearing in your account. This means that if a payment is declined you only find out after the fact, unless you always require Payoneer payment two days in advance. Not a great solution for spur-of-the-moment webcam show requests.

Paxum

Paxum is a similar service to payoneer although unlike the former they encourage private use. Paxum is anonymous and the low costs of payment (which are paid by the customer) are 4.95% of the total amount + $0.50 + 25 cents. Still, fees to withdraw ones funds from a Paxum account are quite steep, at 5$ for check and $8.95 for ACH (EFT). There is also a $40 surcharge if a payment from a customer is charged back, which means that in the event of a chargeback you lose the cost of the webcam show plus an additional $40. Another drawback is that customers must create a Paxum account in order to send payments to your Paxum account, and creating your own verified Paxum account in order to withdraw funds can be quite a bureaucratic ordeal.

Money Pak/Blue Bird

Money Pak and Blue Bird are two great safe, secure and anonymous alternative payment options, but since they can only be used by Americans within America I don’t consider them to be a general viable option for webcam show payments. I’m not American, but even if I was easily half my customers are located in nations outside the US, simply put these services would be useless for a great percentage of my webcam show clients. Feel free to do your own research if you own circumstances are more US-centric, however.

 Why Alternative Payments Do Not Replace Adult Payment Processing for Webcam Shows

All of the options listed above have their uses and pros and cons, but they don’t replace adult payment processing for skype webcam shows because none offer the protection offered by processors such as CCBill, Zombaio and Epoch. Adult payment processors blacklist customers who have charged back, and cards that are declined for innocent bank errors appear immediately, before you have performed the agreed upon webcam show service. Anyone who uses adult payment processing knows how frequently innocent errors that cause credit card declines occur, and few of the services listed above offer any method to protect independent camgirls against that. Further, many of the options listed above offer low cost processing but carry high fees to withdraw funds, in effect raising the cost of accessing your money far above the initial processing fee.  I’m not saying don’t use these services, I’ve used many of them myself and been pleased, but I could never run a thriving business without adult payment processing that notifies me immediately of card declines. If you want to be a full time independent camgirl you need to either get your own merchant account or use a site for payment processing that offers a sub-account system of the same. That’s the only way to protect yourself as you grow your business.