I’ve never used GPal for any transactions, but I’m aware of many folks that have had funds tied up for quite some time.
From GPal CEO Ben Cannon…
As some of you may be aware of, GPal has been experiencing growing pains that are typical of a startup business in an industry that banks are often are hostile to. As a result, a small number of GPal customers have experienced delays and extra requests for information related to their transactions, involving our Automatic Clearing House (ACH) bank withdrawal payout system, affecting the timely dispersal of funds outside of GPal.
Please note that credit cards and GPal-to-GPal transactions have not been affected, and that most customers at GPal are completely unaffected. Only a small number of customers that have had transactions occur at critical times have seen these delays, however we felt it important to notify our customers about these issues.
We at GPal know that this letter has been a long time coming and we sincerely apologize for any delays or inconveniences regarding this matter. While we cannot get into particulars due to pending litigation, we can give our customers a summation of what has been going on and what we are doing to fix it.
When we founded GPal, I knew life would be difficult for a firearms-friendly and otherwise pro-rights payment processor because banks generally do not like working with payment processors, especially ones that cater to the firearms community. Combining the two proved to be a non-starter for years.
Eventually, we were connected to Bank 1. Bank 1 agreed to take on our business but only with with a substantial cash reserve, which I funded out of pocket. Gpal utilized this bank’s processing services for several months and with excellent results. Then, one day, we received a notice that our ability to disburse funds via ACH had been cancelled. It was found later that our ACH access was cancelled a week prior and without notice. This caused a noticeable delay in funding and thus the first “ripple” that GPal experienced.
After finding out about Bank 1, we quickly moved to using Bank 2, a bank we were already in negotiations with. Within two weeks, the ripple was over and ACH disbursements continued but my team had to complete each transaction by hand until Bank 2 finished our back-end integration. This process usually takes a grueling 6 months or more but we were ready in less than 20 days.
Within a short period of time, Bank 2 unceremoniously shut us off. At that point, we decided to begin issuing paper checks to our customers, a solution that cost many thousands of dollars in mailing and printing fees out of my own pocket. We used an established third-party payment vendor to print and send these checks but many of the banks who received these checks told our customers they were fakes. After many teleconferences, all of the banks eventually reversed their opinions and concluded the checks were real, thus allowing our customers to access their funds.
Soon after new banking agreements were signed with Banks 3 and 4 and 5, we stopped issuing paper checks and went back to conducting transfers through ACH. This went well for about a month, until Bank 3 shut off our services, less than 30 days later.
We expanded our operations to Bank 6 and Bank 7, who initially accepted our business then reversed their acceptance less than 30 days in. We posted notifications on our Withdrawl Money page, and our support pages, to notify customers that there may be problems affecting a small portion of GPal transactions.
We now continue to operate with Bank 4, Bank 5, and two new banks Bank 8 and soon Bank 9, as a risk-mitigation move. However, the total amount of processing reserves on the outbound side, plus processing reserves on the inbound side, are significantly larger than we expected. In addition, our credit card processing banks scrutinize each transaction, often asking for secondary validation information before releasing (or holding) funds. This is a normal activity and the reason why we occasionally ask you for a tracking number or some other proof of delivery for a product or service.
Credit card fraud is rampant in this day and age, and GPal has seen this first-hand. We were able to build a sophisticated munti-aspect fraud mitigation system, and while we are below industry averages, we have taken our share of fraud related losses. This affects the terms of our relationship and funds required on deposit with our credit card processing banks.
Finally, several individuals hostile to our business have made threatening calls to GPal customers, impersonating GPal staff, and taken other actions against us, which further hurts our ability to conduct business. Please note that GPal will only call you from our support number, and will only communicate with you via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thought all of this, GPal has fought tooth and nail to continue to bring it’s customers the services they need, and we continue to disburse money to our customers within the bounds of bank requirements. It is our aim to provide you the best pro-rights payment processing possible, and we will not waiver in that commitment.
What we are doing about it.
GPal depends on banks both to take in and send out money. Most of what we do is provide a conduit between these banks so that our customers can transact business. We are at the mercy of these banks and their requirements in order to bring you the GPal product, and since banks are involved in both ends of a transaction, we sometimes are asked for more information.
The various banks that GPal processes with need security. To do that, they retain a varying portion of the funds we transmit. At first I financed many of these reserves with my own funds so when the banks would not pay out you received my money. However, I am unable to do that forever, so GPal is expanding.
– GPal is growing it’s operations and shoring up it’s banking relationships with additional funds.
– GPis is establishing new strategic partnerships that will increase volume and capability of GPal to process payments.
– GPal is going to offer a Debit Card so that our customers can access their funds in realtime, without depending on the long transit time of ACH.
– GPal is hiring more email and phone support staff to help deal with the increased level of customer service requests.
How you can help.
You can help by:
1. Promptly providing confirmation information when GPal Support asks for it (usually this is tracking numbers, description of goods, and personal or business identity documentation.)
2. Please keep issues confined to one email ticket by replying to that same ticket, and do not repeatedly call GPal’s 800 support line so the line can be kept clear for new issues.
3. If you are interested in other avenues of helping, please contact GPal support at email@example.com.
In order to get back on our feet and fully recover, GPal must expand it’s offerings, including but not limited to offering a Debit Card for easier and immediate funds access for our sellers and expanding our processing base. To do so we need your help.
GPal remains absolutely committed to providing the only RKBA and firearms-friendly payment service in the world.