SolidTrustPay Interview

Hi guys! Today I have what I think will be a special treat for you. Special at least in the sense that it is a break from the usual type of article you see on Money-News-Online. It is an interview, yes, but not with one of the usual Investment program administrators. Today I'm delighted to introduce you all to Stella Hiemstra. Stella is one of the founders and owners of SolidTrustPay, one of the leading online payment processors around today, and she very kindly agreed to take some time out from her busy schedule to answer a few questions for me. Located it the picturesque community of Bobcaygeon in Ontario Canada (I heard the fishing is excellent!), STP have been plying their trade for over two and a half years now, and in that time have firmly established themselves as one of the leading players in the area of online payment solutions. So without further ado, let's meet Stella.

1. Hi, Stella. Please introduce yourself to our readers and tell us what your role is in SolidTrustPay.

Greetings everyone! My name is Stella Hiemstra and I am Vice-President and co-owner of SolidTrustPay.

2. Can you give us some background information on STP? Why did you decide to start STP? How long have you been in operation? How many people work there?

SolidTrustPay launched in May, 2006. We have been providing strong processing solutions ever since. The concept of creating another online solution for merchants came about as the result of the needs of two of our other companies: an international music publishing company (which was tired of using PayPal) and our former online advertising portal company (which was sick of the high fees charged by others). SolidTrustPay has 18 full time and 3 part time staff.

3. To start with, what are the different types of account available to open? How does one then open their chosen account? What charges apply to transactions made with these accounts? Following on from that, assuming that SolidTrustPay is the only online account that I have, how do I go about funding it?

Presently, there is one account type which serves both personal and business members. We are soon to launch a new system which will allow new members to choose either Personal OR Business or, if they, wish, mutiples of each. Opening an account is as easy as clicking the SignUP link right on the SolidTrustPay front page.

Transactions fees vary of course depending on the transaction. Here is a quick breakdown:

Fund or withdraw via Direct Bank Transfer for North America: $2 flat fee Fund via Bank Wire: $20 flat fee Fund by Credit/Debit card: 6.5% plus $1.55 Fund by cashiers cheque or money order: $1 flat fee

Withdraw via SolidTrustPay VISA card: $5 flat fee Withdraw via Bank Wire: $40 flat fee Withdraw via Direct Bank Transfer for Australia, New Zealand, Brazil, the Philippines or China: $10 flat fee Withdraw via cashiers cheque: $7.50 for US members Withdraw via regular business cheque: $4.00 for CAD and INTL members

Transfers to verified Merchants and SolidTrustPay members: 1.5% plus $.25 NO account setup or monthly maintenance fee NO minimum balance required

4. How widely accepted is STP as a payment processor now? What kind of businesses are using it? SolidTrustPay grows by over 200 members daily and approximately 10 new merchants weekly. You can check out our Shopping Mall area for a partial list of merchants (this area is a free advertising portal for verified SolidTrustPay merchants, who can choose or not choose, to be listed there).

Most business models are accepted, except for those that are not allowed in our jurisdiction (Canada) or that we choose not to allow. A list of disallowed business types can be found in our FAQs.

5. Your home page says "We do NOT accept adult, tobacco, firearm, pharmaceutical, dating, gambling, lottery or casino businesses of any kind." Why not? I mean if they are legally registered business entities and compliant with the laws of your own jurisdiction, why is it a problem?

Tobacco, firearm and pharmaceutical companies are expressly NOT allowed by our particular credit card agreements. It is very widely known that processing for US citizens attempting to fund online gaming, lottery and casino sites is illegal. It is our personal choice to disallow adult and dating sites.

6. Your home page also says "SolidTrust is an authorized independent agent of VirtualMoney INC". Who are they? What can you tell us about them?

Presently, the VirtualMoney company is undergoing restructuring and a total sale of their business to another company. They are an ATM cash card provider.

7. For the benefit of non-members, where can we view a list of verified merchants that accept SolidTrustPay?

Our Shopping Mall area provides a partial list of merchants, as mentioned above. More merchants integrate daily.

8. Do you have a referral program? How does it work?

We most certainly do! We share a portion of the funds received when members fund and withdraw from their accounts. 1% of the fees received are shared with whomever introduced another member to SolidTrustPay AND whomever THEY refer. There is no maximum amount ... you can earn on your referral indefinitely. We have many members happily earning extra cash daily on referral fees - these fees are instantly added to your SolidTrustPay account.

9. How safe is STP? How do you protect members from identity theft? What measures have you taken to prevent hackers and DDoS attacks from damaging the site?

We are as safe as any online company can be. Every precaution to protect members accounts and identity has been taken. All sensitive information (bank accounts, credit cards, passwords) is encrypted. Not even staff members can see passwords! IF someone were to access an SolidTrustPay account, all they would see would be regular contact info (the same as is easily gotten from, for example). Verification information, once verified, is shredded. We are protected by MacAfee HackerSafe as well as the ProLexic DDoS protection company.

10. Under what circumstances would you freeze a member's account? If the subsequent investigation proves that the member was indeed guilty of some offense, what then happens the money? What legal authority to you have to do this?

Members accounts are only suspended in the case of proven fraud and/or abuse. If this is found to indeed by the case, the account in question loses its verification status and any funds, if available, are returned to the original senders. We do not accept the "once paid, always paid" concept so popular in the e-currency world (E-Gold, LibertyReserve, etc.). If a merchant has been found to be guilty of intentional fraud, we do not allow them to continue. Only after a number of months of complete inactivity and inability to contact the merchant or to reach a resolution with a merchant, do we suspend the account. Refunding their clients is not a question of "legal authority" but of "services not rendered". We strongly urge merchants to resolve all complaints.

11. If I am the victim of fraud, what course of action should I take? Is it possible to get refunded? What if the perpetrator has already withdrawn the money and closed their account?

Fraud occurs only when a merchant or admin has a refund or guarantee policy in place, and then defaults on that policy. Abuse occurs if a merchant attempts to bypass their program committments by funneling funds out of their account to non-program members. Abuse occurs if a merchant completely disappears and members have no access to the services/products they purchased. A refund is then possible. Fraud does NOT occur merely if a member is unhappy with a particular program, or feels that, even though they agreed to the terms of a program, want those terms to be ignored, or waived for them. Fraud does NOT occur if a program merely ends after operating according to terms for a length of time.

12. What is your policy on HYIPs and autosurf sites that want to use STP as a payment processor?

We allow legitimate HYIPs and autosurfs. They are, however, monitored very closely. SolidTrustPay reserves the right to question any admin on their account transactions and request further information on any withdrawals or suspicious looking transactions; we reserve the right to request business licenses, business plans, etc. in order to verify proper program maintenance.

13. Do you think the recent scandals involving E-Bullion and AlterGold has tarnished the image of payment processors in general? Has it had a negative affect on STP?

The online Payment Processing Industry is a tough field to play in. The field is littered with the corpses of past processors - many of whom you and your readers will be well aware of! SolidTrustPay's reputation is very strong - we have been attacked by other processors in an attempt to tarnish our reputation, as well as program administrators who have become unhappy with our strict policies and members likewise. This is, of course, to be expected. No company can be perfect all the time, and ones competitors or enemies will always try to make themselves look better by slandering someone else.

14. What is your opinion of your main competitors, like AlertPay, LibertyReserve, etc? What would you say are the advantages of choosing an account with STP over the others?

AlertPay is an excellent company. We have attempted to interface with them, but they do not allow interaction other processors, which is unfortunate. I opened a LibertyReserve account, and 3 days later was getting spam and phishing emails to a unique email I used with them, so do not have much confidence in their system, I am afraid. I have always liked the E-Gold system, despite their issues, and hope that they come back as a strong e-currency in 2009. I have accounts with almost every major processor just to see what they are like "on the inside" - and believe that we are a top competitor in every way.

The SolidTrustPay advantage is two fold: customer service and options.

Customer Service: you can reach a support person in our office via phone, support ticket, live chat and direct email. We go out of our way to resolve any and all issues. You will get a real person who can get you a real answer in a very short period of time. It is unrealistic to expect a company to have 100% perfection all the time, but it IS realist to expect them to take care of your needs 100% of the time when required! We promise to take care of your needs!

16. If I have several accounts with different processors, can you recommend a good exchange program for transferring funds between them?

Our only recommended exchanger is There are other companies and even individuals "out there", but we do not necessarily recommend them.

17. What are your plans for the near future? What other features and options do you plan to introduce to make STP even more competitive and attractive to customers?

We have many exciting plans for the future! In January of 2009 an entirely new website is being developed. Here are just a few of the new features:

European Electronic Direct Deposit

Faster ACH withdrawals as an additional option to the regular ACH withdrawals

Plug and Play Shopping Cart for Merchants

Lower Credit Card funding rates

Choice of Personal OR Business account (or one of each)

NEW SolidTrustPay Secure ID Card - your own personal contact card with secret coding for account verification

Hold balances in multiple currencies - withdraw or fund in those currencies thus avoiding extra exchange fees

We have been working on these features for months. Some of the above updates were scheduled for release in 2008 but programming and developing being what it is....has taken longer than expected. SolidTrustPay is looking ahead to a very positive 2009. We will continue to work hard to be your payment processor of choice! Thank you for this opportunity to share more about SolidTrustPay with your readers! Seasons Greetings to all.

Well I hope you guys all found that as interesting as I did. In fact I think it's one of the most interesting interviews we've seen recently. And while I know it is not what you are accustomed to seeing here, I do think it's always beneficial to have some insight into the workings of an area of this industry that many investors seldom give a second thought to. So thanks a lot to Stella for her interview and her good wishes. I would also like to wish her and all SolidTrustPay team all the very best at this festive season.

Related articles: