Amazon Payments and US-only

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We get a lot of questions on two related topics: why you need a US bank account and address to start a Kickstarter project, and why Kickstarter uses Amazon Payments to process credit cards instead of PayPal or someone else. Both are meaty subjects, so let’s dig in.

As you know, every Kickstarter project has a funding goal and deadline, both of which are determined by the project creator. When that deadline is reached, one of two things happens:

  1. If the project has met or exceeded its funding goal, all backers’ credit cards are instantly charged and funds go directly to the project creator.
  2. If the project has not met its funding goal, all pledges are immediately canceled. And that’s it.

Amazon Payments is the only processor that currently supports these requirements, and currently Amazon Payments does not support non-US recipients — meaning that you need a US bank account and address to launch a project on Kickstarter. (You can pledge to projects from anywhere — it’s only project creation that’s limited.) Many of us have been using PayPal for so long we assume that it can support any process, but it can’t. (We’re keeping a close eye on PayPal’s new Adaptive Payments service which hopes to support these types of transactions for non-US residents.)

Allowing international project creators is our #1 feature request, and we hear it loud and clear. We promise we’re working on it.

    1. Christine Soccio on June 23, 2011

      I live in the US and I have an Amazon account. I have been trying to verify my bank account with Amazon for days. One foul up after the other. Not a good service at all. I wish PayPal would work for you guys because Amazon is really awful. I hope someday soon it will get verified so I can start my project. I'm very frustrated right now.

    2. William K. on July 29, 2011

      Indeed, we need PayPal pronto!

    3. Kai Brach & Jess Murray on August 4, 2011

      Any developments on allowing Paypal and people from outside the US to start projects?

    4. Missing avatar

      Philip Peter on August 13, 2011

      I would also be very interested in any updates you might have. I would love to start a project on kickstarter, but as the situation is today, i will have to go with one of the other crowd funding pages...

    5. Felix O on September 8, 2011

      Guys, GOOGLE CHECKOUT supports this types of payments and they are more oranised and safe.

    6. Missing avatar

      Andre Brown on September 16, 2011

      it seems amazon payments has launched in the UK earlier this year - does this mean it is possible to set up a UK based project now?

    7. Dawn DeDeaux on September 16, 2011

      I have done everything right at my end to get this account verified. On my Amazon account page there is nothing outstanding to do - but according to Kickstarter we're not verified - I am SO FRUSTRATED! I need to launch the project and I am not getting the help I need here from Kickstarter. Simply not responding, Kickstarter, really isn't a good option.

    8. Missing avatar

      Ryan O'Hara on September 22, 2011

      I don't have a credit card and I don't live in the U.S. - a double! But I do have a PayPal account with $500. So PayPal must happen. Soon. :D

    9. Missing avatar

      GSoda on November 26, 2011

      Wow...2 years and still nothing ? Paypal is an absolute must -it's kind of weird that it obviously doesn't seem to be on Kickstarters priority list.

    10. Missing avatar

      John Kanakis on November 29, 2011

      Ofcourse this is not the true reason, Amazon and Ebay(Paypal) are relentless rivals, you can't really have both of them as an option.

    11. Missing avatar

      Damon Choy on November 30, 2011

      This issue frustrates me SO MUCH.

    12. Ted McDonnell on December 26, 2011

      useless and stupid

    13. Benoit Fries on January 13, 2012

      More than 2 years have passed, still no solution ?

    14. Missing avatar

      Nikolas Willing on January 14, 2012

      The thought that Kickstarter is actually "working on it" is naive and absurd.

      Easy solution: Keep Amazon Payments, add in a second option:
      Step 1: Design a widget for Kickstarter to authorize a credit card for the backing amount. If project succeeds, card is charged. If project fails, authorization is cancelled. This is not a huge thing to do, as there are a plethora of options similar to this out there already, never mind the option of getting one of their own programmers to do it.

      Step 2: Kickstarter would collect the funds and make a payment via PayPal to the registered user for the amount collected, minus their fee. This involves some further accounting and creating a PayPal account.

      While both of these cost some extra $$, Kickstarter can easily cover the cost by increasing their commission on successful projects. After all, we're talking THE REST OF THE WORLD here. Kickstarter is by far the biggest and best of these kinds of sites and to think that another 6.5 BILLION people wouldn't increase it's profit margin is just silly.

      In my humble opinion, the idea that Kickstarter is actually "working on it" is naive. No company can spend 2 years (the time I've been following...) and still not have a solution. In addition, the above explanation is terrible. All it tells me is that they are watching PayPal. No analysis of other options (Google Checkout), no explanation of higher costs, no indication of whether Amazon Payments and PayPal are even mutually exclusive or not. This is not indicative of honesty.

    15. Missing avatar

      Olja Subotic on January 19, 2012

      I have a project that I would love to post on Kickstarter but can't becuse I am a Canadian citizen. Is there a way to encourage Amazon to open it up to non-U.S. citizens/residents?

    16. Missing avatar

      franciszka on January 21, 2012

      yes, paypal please!!!!!!!!!

    17. Carson Leh on January 27, 2012

      Seriously??? Amazon Payments Is BULLSHIT. YOU NEED PAYPAL. For the amount of money raised from projects by kickstarter and amazon. I'm about to just make it myself. If I have to shell out 500 bucks for crappy slow service I'll just do it on my own and cut you(Kickstarter) out.

    18. Missing avatar

      David Cole on February 4, 2012

      Hi guys,

      2 years working on a solution for non-us residents... Whatcha been doing all that time? And you do realise that amazon payments are available in the uk? (and probably loads of other countries as well).

      Please could you provide an update for all of us international folks so we know where you're at with this? I know it's probably a lot less simple than many of the other people commenting here suggest, but it's understandable that they're a bit miffed when you're being so opaque and uncommunicative on the matter. I'm sure a quick blog post update would go a long way - after all, isn't that what you keep telling us?

      I suspect you've got you hands full with the organisation as it is. It's - quite justifiably - been a humungously massive success that must be a monster to manage, but I sincerely hope you'll go the extra mile and open it up to non-us countries very soon, formulating a creative solution for whatever issues are still preventing it. I genuinely believe the world will be a better place for it and you'll get the chance to make some serious wonga at the same time.

      A little, teeny ickle wee blog post update? Please? Is that too much to ask?

      Thanks for reading,

    19. Rosie Shores on February 6, 2012

      I have had an account with Amazon since 2001 or 2002 and now when I tried to get verified for my launch, it said, some part of Amazon Pay "has been disabled" Not by me! Now I wait for them to email me so I can launch! argh I figured it would be PayPal on here, but didn't know all the particulars.

    20. Chris Wang on February 8, 2012

      dump Amazon plus one

    21. Imphenzia on February 9, 2012

      This post is from 2009, are you still working on it? I was really happy to see Kickstarter and was planning my project and video until I realized it's US-only =(

    22. Missing avatar

      Thomas Guenther on February 10, 2012

      Yes, PayPal please, because im a foreigner (Germany), don'T have a crediit card (and don't need one!!!!) so paypal is the only option for me to become a backer!!!!!!!

    23. william Dodds on February 12, 2012

      do you people have an ETA on your non US citizen accountability? This is so lame its only for US citizens. Its just typical USA showing it doesn't give a whiff of a dog's arse about anyone but themselves.

    24. Missing avatar

      mthicke on February 13, 2012

      Any news on opening Kickstarter to other countries??? What are you guys doing about this?

    25. Missing avatar

      deleted on February 14, 2012

      The author of this comment has been deleted.

    26. Missing avatar

      Peter on February 14, 2012

      Just wanted to pledge for a project. Then found out i had to create an amazon account.
      thanks but no thanks.
      a shame really.

    27. Julien L on February 14, 2012

      I'm the founder and CEO of a US based corporation.
      My company has a US bank account, an EIN number, a US office.
      My company has an amazon payment account.
      But personally I'm not a US citizen. I don't have a US state-issued ID. And since you put in your requirement that you need a state-issued ID, I can't submit a project.
      How is this linked to amazon? Why asking for a state-issued ID?

    28. Missing avatar

      Timmmm on February 15, 2012

      Ok, so you've apparently been working on this for 2½ years... an update perhaps?

    29. Missing avatar

      cugeltheclever on February 16, 2012

      It's a shame there is not really an alternative for the creditcard... In the Netherlands most people don't have one.

    30. Missing avatar

      Avi Marcus on February 16, 2012

      Stripe also allows you to save credit cards and then charge them later by simply putting in the credit card - no stripe account required.
      Although a) it doesn't have the same ability to authorize only a certain amount
      and b) it also is only for US accounts at this time.
      I thought paypal let you authorize a payment and THEN you can choose to charge it?

    31. Cipherpunk on February 17, 2012

      VERY unhappy about this situation. I can promise you that I will NEVER make an Amazon payment account. Why should I? I have a perfectly good Paypal account with much more flexibility (ask anyone in these comments).

      I wanted to make a significant contribution to a project I care about but now that won't happen. Which means you get NOTHING.

    32. Missing avatar

      Darrell on February 19, 2012

      Does the payment not go to a Amazon Kickstart account first?

      The project's that I have backed show it goes to "Kickstarter, Paladin, LLC"
      With a reference showing what I have agreed to fund.

      When the project is successful the funding's is sent to the project owner minus the kick start fees.
      This seem to be the only time that the a person need's a Amazon account.
      So could the funds not be just deposit from the kick starter merchant account to you company holding account
      Then the funds sent via pay pal or international bank transfer etc.
      With any fees associated with the transfer deducted.
      I would even be happy to pay an additional handling fee if required.
      So that kick starter can verify the project owner (in advance if needed)

    33. Missing avatar

      Stephan on February 20, 2012

      I only want to *fund* projects, but even that doesn't seem to work from Germany where I live. I always get the message that this functionality is disabled (on the Amazon Payments page). I can't be the only one having this problem? :(

    34. Missing avatar

      Elaborate on February 21, 2012

      For Heaven's sake, I just wanted to pledge some money!
      The project's something like 2000% funded already - it's a done deal!


    35. Missing avatar

      Olja Subotic on February 21, 2012

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    36. Missing avatar

      Peter Pierse on February 22, 2012

      Why won't you take my money! I'm salivating at the thought of getting my teeth into another adventure game but I've found Amazon absolutely terrible to deal with if anything goes wrong - so I no longer have an account!

    37. Missing avatar

      Olja Subotic on February 22, 2012

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

    38. Jan Kaiser
      on February 23, 2012

      Please add a support for non-US project creations. It's been 2 years already!

    39. Missing avatar

      Frederico Araujo on February 23, 2012

      if it's US-Only and this project is useless.
      see, it allows non-US people.

    40. Kris Bulman on February 24, 2012

      we have money, you have pockets. we have paypal, you need to support paypal. done.

    41. Kris Bulman on February 24, 2012

      PS, i want that damn adventure game.

    42. DFT Games on February 27, 2012

      I'm under the impression that they just don't care at all of us posting here... There are a few alternatives out there, so I guess that this service will become an USA getto quite soon.

    43. The FarmBot Project on March 2, 2012

      Ridiculous...I am in shock. I have been designing and refining my project for over a year with Kickstarter in mind....only to discover that you must be a US resident???

      ...I am pretty sure the US is one of the luckier countries in the world, and obtaining funding for valid projects is a bigger problem for OUTSIDE the US... In shock. What now?

    44. Missing avatar

      ChristerMLB on March 3, 2012

      Tried to pledge for a project, amazon wouldn't let me. I'm in Norway.

    45. Pullifresser on March 4, 2012

      Too bad, but I'll find a way through. Unless I cannot catch some greencard :P

    46. John Muller on March 6, 2012

      With all the paypal horror storys I've read, not using them seems like a good thing.

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