There's been a bit of a buzz on the internet over the summer of 2010 about new online payment system Paybox.me
When you go to the Paybox.me website you can see why. Here are some Paybox.me promises to subscribers who sign up as Earlybirds:
"You start with a $50 balance and it's free.
PayBox will add up to $20 per day to your account for participating as we prepare to launch our new service
You get $5 per person you refer to PayBox.
You'll help shape the development of the best payment system ever designed for the Internet.
You could have hundreds or thousands of dollars in your account by the time we launch, without ever making a deposit!"
Sounds, classically, too good to be true. So people on internet boards are asking if it's a scam, if it's risky, if it's possible that it's genuine.
The first thing to understand about the Paybox.me statements above is that Paybox.me has its own currency. Paybox.me dollars are not US dollars. (Sorry to say!) Paybox.me says it intends to develop a currency that will exchange with currencies worldwide.
Which, in itself, is perfectly feasible - think of Disney money or Linden dollars.
What it means though is that the 50 dollars you get as a sign up fee are not 50 US dollars. The Paybox.me currency is not currently exchangeable for US dollars - or anything - so you can't use them. If and when the service goes live in 2011, Paybox.me says that they plan that their currency will be in the international exchange system and Paybox.me users will be able to spend their dollars and make and accept payments. You can't tell for now what the value of your 50 dollar sign up fee may eventually be. It could, theoretically, be around 50 US dollars or it could be 5 cents. If Paybox.me fails, the value will clearly be nil.
Having said all that, Paybox.me is more likely to be a simple email address collecting venture than a scam that puts subscribers at real risk. And there's always a chance it could turn into something profitable.
If you want to have a look for yourself and take a gamble that it may turn into a real business, just click here.