I've been asked to set up an online booking system for a very small marathon. (As in maximum 200 competitors, rather than a very small course. ) Originally, the plan was to use PayPal to take payments, but we've since had reports from other groups that PayPal will not release the money until after an event, citing the high risk of cancellation. Obviously, that's no use, as the entrance fee is needed in advance to pay the event expenses.

Asking around similar groups for suggestions, we've been referred to entrycentral.com. They look good, but as they provide a greater service than simply processing payments, their charges are higher than PayPal's. Our event (in its first year, but hopefully to become an annual event) is being run pretty much on a shoestring, so every penny counts.

Can anybody suggest a cheap and easy alternative, or do we just need to bite the bullet and go with entrycentral?