FAQs

What is Payment21®?

Payment21® is a payments technology and financial service brand connecting consumers, businesses and financial institutions across the globe. Our firm acts as a payment service provider (PSP) operating a payment gateway specialized in processing alternative payment methods. We provide a state of the art platform for businesses to accept digital cash like bitcoin as a means of payment online.

What are the benefits for Merchants?

Digital money has appealing properties for consumer transactions. Low payment fees mean higher profits for merchants, or you can pass the savings on to your customers for a price advantage over your competitors. There are no chargebacks and no returns in cryptographic payments like bitcoin; any confirmed transaction is protected by the full power of the network. Businesses can accept digital cash from any country in the world, with no risk of fraud.

Our solution is optimized for e-commerce, m-commerce and in-store transactions; from shopping cart modules to mobile checkout, and point of sale solutions, we give you the flexibility to choose from any of these options.

Why should I use Payment21® when Visa, MasterCard and PayPal already exist?

The most compelling reasons for using Payment21®'s digital money solution instead of traditional measures like Visa, MasterCard and PayPal include extremely low transaction fees, settlement within minutes, and absolutely secure transactions. These features make digital cash the most attractive option available to everyone and are unrivaled by traditional measures.

Credit card payments and PayPal transactions still cost about 3% per transaction and settlement times run into days with embedded risk of chargebacks and fraud, whereas cryptographic transactions cost you close to nothing and there exist no risks of chargebacks and fraudulent transactions.

Is Payment21® a payment network similar to my credit card company?

The web services provided by Payment21.com are branded under Payment21®. We have created a proprietary payment gateway for digital cash (e.g. bitcoin) that differentiates itself from payment options like Visa and MasterCard, the difference being that Payment21® does not charge hidden exchange fees for cross-border transactions but applies comprehensible low-cost fees only. The Bitcoin payment network eliminates credit card use for Internet payments altogether by directly linking merchants and consumers across developed and emerging markets. Most importantly, bitcoin is a liquidity-based payment method, as opposed to an interim credit-based payment system with accruing compound interest, as is the case in credit card systems.

What fees does Payment21® charge for merchant processing?

If you accept digital cash and choose to keep those digital assets in crypto coins there is no transaction fee but the near-to-nothing block chain fee to accept payments. Making a transfer to an external bitcoin wallet address requires a fee of up to 0.0005 BTC per transaction and includes the standard miner’s fee so your withdrawal may be processed by the network as quickly as possible.

If you choose to exchange digital money you receive into your local currency, then this is where transaction fees come into effect. There is only a charge of 1% to convert bitcoin into fiat money. Standard accounts have zero subscription fees with no volume limitation or transaction threshold. The 1% fee is waived totally for all the other subscription plans.

Note that your bank may apply additional fees for receiving payments by wire transfer. Unfortunately, this is out of our control.

How does it work?

After creating an account with us, we provide our clients with an API-connection that allows for every purchase in the shop to generate a separate cryptographic address, which is then used by the customer of the merchant to complete the payment. If the merchant decides to keep the cryptographic payment, this unique address is used as an intermediate one and the payment is transferred to merchant’s dedicated cryptographic address whenever the payment is made.

For the merchants who decide to convert the digital cash to legal tender, we provide currency exchange services for converting digital cash into fiat money at the average medium foreign exchange rates on the applicable banking day.

Can I cancel a digital cash transaction?

Unfortunately, due to the nature of the cryptographic payment protocols, digital cash transactions cannot be cancelled or altered once they are initiated. This is what allows merchants to accept digital money without the risk of chargebacks, which essentially means digital cash users must be careful when they send funds, as cryptographic transactions cannot be undone. To facilitate returns, Payment21 enables merchants to keep a certain percentage of each transaction as a reserve. This allows for refunds when customers ask for their money back.

How do you prevent fraud?

Our mission is to enable merchants to accept payments via bitcoins from around the world, including emerging markets, which are known for high risk. Our fraud detection services minimize the risk for your business and give you a way to accept digital cash transactions in a safe manner. Our solution is designed for security, we never ask for your private bitcoin keys. You control your bitcoin wallet, or use one of our trusted partners. All communication is through secure SSL connections. We offer professional expertise and customized technology to eliminate fraud, increase the number of safely accepted transactions, and reduce your internal costs.

How can merchants accept digital cash (e.g. bitcoin) safely when the price isn't stable?

While the day to day price of bitcoin can be unstable, accepting digital cash through Payment21® eliminates the risk of market fluctuations.  By enabling instant exchange and immediate settlement into legal tender, you'll never have to hold digital money if you don't want to.

Payment21® pulls real-time rates from multiple exchanges. This process ensures the best bitcoin exchange rate at the time of payment and conversion. The amount so converted in fiat money is then deposited directly to merchant’s bank account ASAP. Almost immediate conversion from digital cash into fiat money eliminates the risk of bitcoin price volatility. Therefore, buyers always get an advantage by spending their bitcoins at a Payment21® merchant than by selling them on an exchange.

One of the important features of Payment21®'s processing platform is our ability to guarantee the exchange rate to our merchants on every order processed.  Meaning, if a merchant asks us to collect an equivalent of €100 in bitcoin, as long as the buyer sends the cryptographic payment within the time window, Payment21® guarantees the merchant will receive exactly €100 minus our fee.

Where do you get your exchange rates from?

Payment21® consolidates market depth from multiple exchanges to quote a Fair Value Rate (FVR). The FVR shows bitcoin compared to foreign exchange rates providing shoppers and merchants alike with recommended average prices reflecting actual market conditions. On a best-efforts basis, Payment21® offers shoppers a better rate for spending their digital currency with a merchant than by selling digital currency on an exchange. To calculate exchange rates, Payment21® pulls market data from exchanges with adequate liquidity and withdrawal capability around the world. The order books across all qualifying exchanges are merged into a consolidated feed composing the Fair Value Rate.

The FVR is updated in near real-time and available via our Crypto Payments API.

Do you offer custom-made forex risk hedging based on Bitcoin technology?

Usually merchants accepting digital currency limit their exchange risk by instantly converting digital money into legal tender. In addition, Payment21® offers custom-made solutions to corporate clients with a need for hedging forex risk in international transactions. For key account clients in developed and emerging markets, Payment21® calculates the FVR on bitcoin in relation to XDR. This ISO 4217 currency code stands for Special Drawing Rights, also known as SDR. XDR shows the daily value of USD relative to the SDR representing a currency basket maintained by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, DC and used by the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basel, Switzerland, as a unit of account. Using the XDR helps organizations to cope with foreign exchange rate volatility. Beyond that, we can quote in any other currency-pegged unit. By doing so, we follow the ISO 4217 currency code standards maintained by SIX Interbank Clearing Ltd.

Does your Swiss operation use the same data center as SWIFT?

No, but the operations center of Payment21® perfectly matches the distributed architecture for SWIFT financial messaging. Just like the SWIFT-network, Payment21® runs its global data processing center in preferred jurisdictions offering a framework of suitable data privacy legislation. The modus operandi is defined as conducting business activities from the company's headquarters in Switzerland while all processing and storage is managed by a professional datacenter in a building located in the Principality of Liechtenstein. In comparison, the SWIFT secure messaging network is run from two redundant datacenters, one in the United States and one in the Netherlands. These centers share information in near real time. In 2009, SWIFT opened a third global data processing center in Switzerland. Since then, data from European SWIFT members has no longer been mirrored to the US datacenter. This prevents immediate access by US authorities to international transfer data - as is currently the case via the network's computing center in the United States - hence dispelling any data privacy concerns. The new message architecture has been designed to take into account the concerns voiced by data privacy watchdogs and members of the European Parliament. According to statements made by SWIFT, the choice of Switzerland as the seat of its global data processing center was the result of a comprehensive survey of possible European locations. The decisive factors determining the choice of location were the suitability of existing infrastructure, the availability of skilled staff and the presence of an appropriate framework of data privacy legislation.

How do I send cryptographic coins and make digital payments?

You can easily send digital cash to any crypto address by entering the details into the payment field of your wallet. To use the wallet, just insert the receiving address, amount and the two-factor authentication code and click "Send." If you send crypto coins using Payment21®, the cryptographic payment will appear in your wallet.

Do you sell digital cash?

We offer payment services to merchants. Our processing platform obtains conversion rates from various crypto exchange partners and hence we are operating as a payment processor on behalf of our clients (ecommerce merchants running an online shop and vendors selling goods and services in a store). All we do is providing a safe and simple environment that enables merchants to accept digital cash (e.g. bitcoin) as a means of payment, and/or exchange digital cash (originating from customers purchasing goods and services) to legal tender. Settlement payments occur in digital cash or legal tender depending on the merchant’s preferences.

How do I send e-bills denominated in bitcoin?

Great question!  We provide many different methods for setting up digital currency acceptance on your website. Sending e-invoices by email is one of them. Check out our Virtual Terminal accessible through the merchant back office. It allows you to generate and email invoices to your customers.

How can I accept digital currency payments at my brick and mortar store?

You can easily accept digital currency payments at your retail store. Check out our E-Billing feature available through your merchant account back office. This feature functions as a Point of Sale (POS) solution enabling merchants to issue invoices and to accept crypto-currency right over the Internet.

Which crypto coins does Payment21® work with?

Payment21® supports digital cash in bitcoin by default. Alternate coins and other crypto units are available upon request.

In which countries is Payment21® available?

Payment21® is available in most countries in the world, and you can set your prices in your local currency.

Which settlement currencies do you support?

Direct bank deposits are made in legal tender (i.e. fiat money) to almost all countries, consequently, Payment21® supports settlement in over 100 currencies. To name but a few:

EUR, CHF, USD, GBP, CAD, AUD, INR, CNY, JPY, HKD, SGD, BRL & RUB.

  • Settlement in EUR is available via SEPA transfer in 34 European countries
  • Settlements in other currencies are available via SWIFT and native bank transfer
  • Settlement payments will appear in your bank account after two business days
  • Settlement thresholds and minimum bank transfer fees are expressed in the contract

What does SEPA mean?

SEPA is the Single Euro Payments Area in existence since end-January 2008 where all Euro-payments in 34 SEPA-countries are treated as domestic payments. With SEPA, money transfers in Euros between all countries of the EU, the EEA and Switzerland are faster (max. 3 business days) and cheaper (usually free). The countries covered by SEPA are 17 EU-member and Eurozone countries: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Portugal, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Spain; 11 EU-member but non-Euro countries: Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Great Britain, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Sweden; 3 member countries of the European Economic Area (EEA): Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland plus Monaco and San Marino.

What do IBAN and BIC mean?

IBAN stands for International Bank Account Number and contains details about the country, the financial institute and the account number. The IBAN serves as a unique form of identification for a bank account. The BIC (Bank Identifier Code), also called the SWIFT-code (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication, S.W.I.F.T.), is used for unique identification of the bank. For all international payments from Switzerland to a country in the EU or the European Economic Area (EEA), the IBAN and BIC must be stated. If these are not given, the bank may charge a supplement.

Do you payout in bitcoin?

We make payouts in bitcoin and in legal tender - as you wish. You never need to hold bitcoin when accepting payments; however, we are happy to settle bitcoin directly to your local bitcoin wallet. Merchants who want to keep bitcoins may start accepting payments right away. Payments received in bitcoins are processed instantly to your bitcoin address whenever the payment is made.

Merchants may choose to receive a direct deposit to their bank account in local currency according to the current market rate of bitcoin. The payments in fiat money are released to a merchant’s bank account ASAP. Our short payout cycle minimizes risk as funds are transferred as quickly as possible, reducing the merchant’s balances and eliminating the storage risk.

In any event, you get exactly what you charge minus our fees. Settlement of funds via bank deposit is included in all subscription plans. Subscription fees are billed once a month. If you choose to take settlement in bitcoin, Payment21® will forward bitcoins to your local bitcoin Wallet hosting your bitcoin address on file. The minimum settlement is 0.01 XBT (BTC).

How long does it take for merchants to receive payments?

Basically, we settle payments on a daily basis with a fixed cut-off time at 2pm Central European Time (CET). However, your definite payout cycle depends on your volume and chosen subscription plan. In most cases you can expect your settlement to be processed on the first business day after your customers make the payment.

Bank transfers may take several days to complete, especially if you have a small bank that uses an intermediary bank or if you have placed a withdrawal request on a bank holiday.

How often do you settle payments to merchants?

The payout cycle begins instantly and can be specified to meet your requirements. Settlement payments happen automatically taking your currency settings (digital cash or legal tender) and the settings of your customizable payout cycle into account. Settlement payments in legal tender involve a step-by-step exchange process as required and permitted by law.

The step-by-step exchange process triggers an instant conversion procedure. Merchants can activate this optional feature when choosing their settlement preferences.

Settlements in digital cash (e.g. bitcoin) happen immediately (unconfirmed) or within approximately 1 hour (confirmed 6 times which is the regular operational time frame given by the block chain – the public transaction database).

The available payout cycles for legal tender are “daily” or “just-in-time” depending on the merchant's transaction volume and chosen subscription plan.

Volume above CHF 3,000.00 or the equivalent in any other currency is settled “daily” by default. You can assume that volume below or equal to CHF 3,000.00 or the equivalent in any other currency is settled “just-in-time”.

Setting the payout-cycle to “just-in-time” enables merchants to customize their minimum settlement threshold. This feature allows merchants to withdraw their credit balance below or equal to CHF 3,000.00 or the equivalent in any other currency at their own discretion. Settling “just-in-time” supports merchants in their effort to keep transfer fees in proportion to the withdrawal amount. For example, if a merchant’s turnover is €5.00, then the merchant receives the payout as soon as the withdrawal is requested. In this case, the settlement process is initiated immediately and the funds are settled within the necessary operational time period.

If your credit balance goes over CHF 3,000.00 or the equivalent in any other currency, funds are settled instantly anyway - within the necessary operational time period (digital cash - close to real-time / legal tender - daily).

Payment21® collects and deposits all payments processed from the previous payout cycle directly to your local Bitcoin wallet or to your bank account or in accordance with your settlement preferences.

We protect merchants on our platform by maintaining bank-grade compliance standards. Tiered processing limits apply based on your verification level and your subscription plan. These limits can be raised through compliance verification and account upgrades.

Can I earn interest on my funds held by Payment21®?

In accordance with the Swiss Federal Banking Act (SFBA) and according to the terms and conditions of our payment gateway, users of Payment21® cannot earn interest on their deposits.

Why do you need identification documents from merchants?

We need to collect basic documents for KYC (Know Your Customer) purposes when dealing with government-regulated fiat money. Financial intermediaries have to abide by government regulations to limit fraud and money laundering. There are regulations in place in almost all countries in the world for these purposes. As we are using banks and other regulated financial services to facilitate payments, either by accepting or sending legal tender, we have to ensure that we work within the terms of the banking industry and their governing bodies.

What are the ID requirements when doing foreign remittances with a Swiss Money Transfer Operator (MTO)?

In an effort to help combat money laundering and the funding of terrorist activities, Swiss providers of money transfers, so-called financial intermediaries, are legally obliged to identify their clients, to check the beneficial ownership of the money in question and, if necessary, make other enquiries. While banks and third-party processors like Payment21® identify their clients via the account obligation, specialized money transfer firms require a valid form of ID (passport, national identity card, foreign resident’s permit) for the transfer, usually for both the sender and the recipient. Apart from a valid identification document, additional documents may be required, such as proof of residence.

How do I make my Payment21® Wallet safe?

We highly recommend that you enable two-factor authentication on your Payment21® wallet account. Your wallet data is already encrypted with your password, but a second authentication step will make your wallet more secure and safe.

How does Payment21® handle data privacy?

Payment21® abides by the standards of Visa and MasterCard voluntarily. All servers are stored in a fully PCI DSS-compliant datacenter. The PCI Security Standards are a series of regulations developed to safeguard payment account data security. In a growing effort to preserve the integrity of personal information, the PCI Security Standards Council has put forth a series of regulations that online businesses must follow to ensure the security of online shopping. Payment21® has met and surpassed all standards outlined by the PCI Security Standards Council.

What about transaction security?

Payment21® uses a two-step authentication and authorization process that is safer and more secure than authorizing credit or debit cards. The system processes transactions with banking-grade security. Transaction security is based on masking. With Payment21®, none of the user’s banking information is publicly transferred, released, captured, copied or transcribed during a transaction. The servers are protected with firewalls and premium antivirus software.

How can I make my account more secure?

While Payment21.com takes extensive security measures to ensure your data and transactions are as safe as possible, there are some additional steps that we strongly recommend you take to help protect your account from unauthorized access:

  • Take advantage of the two-factor authorization services we offer
  • Check the IP login activity of your account by signing-in to your account
  • Use a complex and unique password that is not similar to those used on any other websites
  • Never disclose your password to anyone
  • Beware of phishing - a Payment21-employee will NEVER ask for your password

How can I retrieve my forgotten password?

Use the “Forgot Password” link on Payment21.com login page to get an email to your registered email address and use the link provided in the email to reset the password.

I cannot create an account on Payment21.com! What’s wrong?

First of all, please make sure that you've filled out information in all the required fields correctly. While filling out your information please keep in mind the following:

Username: Should contain at least 5 characters, maximum 32 characters. Only English alphabets (upper and lower case), numbers, and '_' may be used as characters.

Password: Should contain at least 8 characters, maximum 128 characters. Password cannot contain your username.

Do you provide shopping cart plugins for e-commerce?

Payment21® provides shopping cart integration with Magento, Joomla VirtueMart, osCommerce, OpenCart, and CS-Cart.

Who should I contact for further help?

If your question is not answered here, please contact the Support Team at Payment21.com. To do so, please click on “Contact”. Our team at Payment21.com will process your request immediately.

When will I hear back from your support team?

Customer service is important to us and we'll respond to your support request as soon as we can. However, sometimes it can take longer to respond if we are experiencing an unusually heavy volume of support requests.

How do I start using Payment21®?

It's easy and quick to start using Payment21®. Simply click on "Create an Account" or go to the 5 Step Sign Up, enter your information, and submit the form. Then check your email for your credentials that we've sent you. Use the secret details to activate your account on Payment21.com.

Begin accepting digital payments in 5 easy steps