In November of 2011, I announced the arrival of OKPAY onto the Bitcoin scene, which at the time was seen as a huge step toward the consumer popularisation of Bitcoin. OKPAY was, and still is, the first well-established payment processor to integrate Bitcoin into their services. Since the original announcement, OKPAY has continued to increase in popularity, becoming one of the top 10,000 sites on the Internet, and hence a member of our prestigious Bitcoin Ladder. OKPAY is also one of the top 1700 sites in Russia.
Its competitors from within the Bitcoin community, BitPay, WalletBit, and MtGox have obviously kept the pressure on OKPAY to remain competitive, and OKPAY has done just that by recently dropping their BTC to USD conversion fee to 2.50% from the 3.00% that it was back in March of 2012. BitPay is currently charging 2.69%, while WalletBit charges 2.75%. Mt.Gox is of course competitive with the straight BTC to USD conversions, but they also charge 2.50% on top of their trading fees for any other currency. OKPAY's 2.50% rate also holds for anyone wishing to withdraw their BTC proceeds via the OKPAY MasterCard debit card.
Uniquely, OKPAY has also aligned itself with two of the major Bitcoin exchanges, Mt.Gox and BTC-E, allowing users to withdraw funds from the exchanges to their OKPAY accounts, and ensuring OKPAY gets the best possible Bitcoin exchange rate.
OKPAY's service has drawn in hundreds of thousands of users, thus giving them an advantage through economies of scale, something BitPay, WalletBit, and MtGox may find difficult with which to compete, though they're obviously doing a great job of staying competitive, themselves.
The beauty of these payment processors is the fact that they allow a merchant to accept Bitcoins with zero risk, with fees very much competitive with, if not lower than, those of PayPal, Visa, and MasterCard. Add in the absolute zero chance of chargebacks, and you wonder why there are any merchants out there that are not willing to accept Bitcoin in addition to the usual currencies.
As always, it's exciting to see the Bitcoin payment processor space continue to grow with the Bitcoin economy, inevitably forcing traditional payment processors (*cough* PayPal *cough*) to either get with the times or potentially lose significant business.