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Here's what I want to accomplish:

  1. Agent sends email invoice to client containing payment link.
  2. Client clicks link, is brought to a site (ours or a payment processor's), and presented with a payment form.
  3. Client submits form, charge is processed, and dropped in agent's checking account (minus whatever processing fee is necessary).

Regular old PayPal's "Request Money" feature could be used for this, but that requires that the client has or creates a PayPal account. I'd like to avoid that, hence this question.

A few other considerations:

  • Volume is low enough that a full merchant account or service requiring a monthly fee is overkill.
  • Agent sells a service, not shipped goods.
  • Ticket price is static.
  • Due to my requirements' likeness to that of phishing schemes and sex workers (we are neither), I am somewhat wary of PayPal's alleged habit of freezing the accounts of questionable businesses without investigation.

I mention Website Payments Standard since as I understand it, we could:

  1. Have a page on our site (hidden from spiders, not linked to) with a WPS form.
  2. Email invoices to clients containing a link to that page.
  3. Client fills out form and PayPal processes the charge.

I did look into FastSpring, which does have an invoicing feature like what I'm looking for, but their service can only be used (contractually) to sell digital goods. FreshBooks also came up in my search, but is too expensive and doesn't supply payment processing.

So then--anyone care to drop the knowledge on what the best practice is for this? Suggestions of processors would be appreciated in addition.

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Something as simple as Paypal express checkout would be suitable for you as the button would still be on your site. So the email link would be clicked taking the user your site to the invoice viewer page. At the bottom of the page there could be a button for express checkout which would take the user to the paypal page. From there the user would have the option of either using their paypal account or simply entering their credit card details in.

No matter whether you setup a personal or business account PayPal still has the opportunity to freeze the funds of the transaction if it seems questionable. You are more likely to see the specific transaction frozen rather than the whole account. In addition generally when this happens PayPal simply needs to be given confirmation that whatever was paid for has in fact been delivered. In the case of a physical item a proof of delivery docket is required, in the case of a payment for service generally an invoice to the customer detailing what was done is suitable. The important thing is to make sure that you specify what you are using the PayPal account for and be accurate about it. I have known people who have uses their ebay PayPal account for services rendered payments and PayPal has refused to release the funds for weeks simply because they stated at sign up that the account was being used for products being sold on eBay and so payPal expected that physical products where changing hands.

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