It’s no surprise that customer expectations for speed, ease of use and variety of choice at the checkout page on your site are on the rise once again.
But how exactly can you satisfy your customers, reduce your shopping cart abandonment rate and drive more sales by improving your checkout page?
One of the best ways to meet the increased demands of your customers is to provide them with plenty of payment options. So, what types of online payments methods are available? And how do they differ around the world depending on which countries you want to target?
In this article, you’ll find out about nine different eCommerce payment types worth exploring. We also share some examples of popular payment methods in regions around the world to support you with international expansion.
Online payment services.
Most modern online payment services offer easy-to-use, fast and secure ways to pay – the bare bones of what’s expected from payment providers.
Such companies do so by cutting out the need to enter long card details or personal information. Instead, they operate using stored payment methods and/or third-party processing to speed up the checkout process.
Here’s a list of some of the most popular online payment services:
Alongside credit and debit cards, PayPal is one of the most dominant payment methods available today with over 254 million users worldwide.
Owned by eBay, PayPal is an eCommerce payment processing company that allows users to set up a PayPal account and pay a fee for each cash transaction.
Many customers prefer to checkout with PayPal because it’s so simple and quick to use, not to mention its perceived level of security by online shoppers.
Used by more than 17 million businesses worldwide, PayPal boasts that customers who use its services to checkout convert at 82% higher rates compared with other payment options.
However, keep in mind that rules and fees will vary depending on the currency being used and the amount transacted.
Amazon Pay is another big player in the online payment space.
Similar to PayPal, Amazon Pay is a digital payment processing service that allows customers to pay online using their Amazon payment methods on third party websites.
Amazon Pay uses the details already stored on the shopper’s Amazon account to complete the transaction and provide a speedy checkout experience.
Online retailers can certainly benefit from Amazon’s undisputed popularity across the whole web, as the majority of customers will already hold an account with Amazon.
eBay’s own payments system enables shoppers to enter payment information and process it without having to digitally travel to a third-party site and therefore leave the marketplace.
So, if you sell on eBay, managed payments could be worth considering if you like the idea of selling and getting paid all in one place, without the need for an additional account with another platform.
What’s more, your customers can benefit from a payment experience all through a single site, which includes multiple payment options including credit and debit cards, Google Pay, Apple Pay and even PayPal if they choose.
With hundreds of millions of users already saving their card information to their Google account, Google Pay could offer an extra layer of convenience for a significant number of your customers.
Trusted worldwide, Google Pay lets shoppers choose from saved payment methods in their Google account in order to checkout quickly and smoothly on third-party sites.
On top of this, your customers can also store branded gift cards, loyalty cards and offers with Google Pay, helping you to build brand affinity and provide a seamless shopping experience that is entirely online.
What’s more, Google Pay is free for both you and your customers to use.
Apple’s huge popularity makes Apple Pay an online payment service worth considering.
It offers your customers an easy, secure and faster alternative to traditional credit and debit card payments, as it skips the need to enter long card details and operates with a one-click payment process.
That’s not all though.
The service also allows customers to authenticate their purchase using Touch ID fingerprint sensor on Apple devices, and like Google Pay, it’s completely free for both merchants and customers to use.
Direct debit payments.
Direct debit payments are most commonly used for B2B transactions as they allow for recurring, automated payments to be made.
The biggest plus of direct debits, is the fact that payment is almost instant, so no need to wait for customers to pay an outstanding invoice.
On top of this, it’s really convenient for your customers as they don’t have to approve payments or remember to pay; the money is simply taken from their account automatically once the direct debit has been set up.
This online payment method would work best for regular invoices such as monthly retainers or subscription-based business models.
While not everyone has a credit card, you can be sure that almost all of your customers will have a bank account to keep their cash in.
However, despite the fact that online shopping is at an all-time high, consumers still have concerns about security when handing over card details.
The main benefit of bank transfers is that customers don’t have to disclose any financial details to you in order to make a purchase.
What’s more, bank transfers used for eCommerce payments are only set to grow due to open banking initiatives like PSD2 (Payment Services Directive 2); a legislation to allow non-banks, i.e. retail merchants, to initiate payments without the intervention of traditional card brand networks.
Prepaid cards are often used by adolescents or digital shoppers who don’t yet have a bank account.
Different to gift cards, prepaid cards are a type of debit card issued by a bank or credit card company and ‘loaded’ with a certain amount of money.
The card’s limit is determined by the amount deposited onto the card, and once the balance has been exhausted, the card is worthless until more funds are added.
Due to this level of control, prepaid cards usually have a minimum age limit of 14-16 years and therefore don’t require a credit check.
Online gaming companies tend to favor this form of online payment, with virtual currency being stored in prepaid cards for a player to use on in-game transactions as an example.
Similar to prepaid cards, gift cards contain a certain amount of money, however they are mainly offered by retailers and, more recently, by major credit card providers such as Visa, Mastercard and American Express.
The most common type of gift card is technically known as a closed-loop card, meaning it can only be used with a particular retailer, although some retail groups will allow the same gift card to be used at other affiliated stores.
Once the sum of the gift card has been spent it can no longer be used, unlike prepaid cards which can be ‘reloaded’ with funds again and again.
Gift cards can help you to promote your brand and bring in new customers, especially around key retail dates and occasions.
Digital currencies have come a long way from the uncertainty, risk and illegality once associated with Bitcoin.
That being said, smaller businesses should still approach cryptocurrencies with caution and offer these forms of alternative online payment based solely on the demands of your customer base.
For example, if you are targeting millennials who are most likely to invest in crypto, then offering a digital currency payment option could help you to engage with a younger audience.
Keep in mind that the value of digital currency can fluctuate dramatically compared with traditional currency because it’s not tied to any physical assets.
‘Buy now pay later’ instant financing.
The term ‘buy now pay later’ is used to refer to interest-free credit providers.
Platforms such as Afterpay and Klarna, offer customers a way to spread the cost of their purchase or simply pay for their items at a later date, rather than pay in full upfront.
Online sellers could benefit from these interest-free platforms as they remove one of the biggest barriers to closing a sale – insufficient funds – meaning that your customers can essentially spend money they don’t yet have.
However, most ‘buy now pay later’ providers will charge the retailer a fee per transaction, so it’s important to bear this in mind before going ahead with this alternative online payment option.
Cash on delivery (COD).
Quite simply, cash on delivery (COD) allows the customer to pay for their goods by cash/card in person directly to the courier at the time of delivery.
COD is a popular choice for online shoppers, particularly in countries where cash payments are still dominant, such as India, Bangladesh and Thailand.
One of the main benefits of this payment method for your customers is the guarantee that they will receive the goods they paid for, and not risk losing or wasting any of their money.
What’s more, they can check the product for any damage before handing over their cash, so it’s possible to return it without paying anything in the first place.
In addition to this, customers don’t have to give their financial details to the merchant in order to make an online purchase – something a lot of shoppers prefer as it means they’re not at risk of any online fraud.
However, cash on delivery can be costly to you as a retailer, as courier companies often charge a premium rate for this option.
Examples of popular online payment methods across the world.
Every country is different, so it’s no surprise that each country will have different online payment methods they prefer to use.
Which payment options you offer will largely depend on who you’re targeting and how this demographic prefers to checkout online.
Below, we have outlined some of the most popular online payment methods from different regions around the world, which we suggest you take into consideration when focusing on reaching customers from a specific area.
Alternative payment methods are expected to reach 20% of the market share in Europe by 2020, that includes mobile payments, prepaid cards, eWallets and ‘buy now pay later’ instant financing.
At the same time, credit cards remain popular throughout Europe, so it’s important to get the right mix of payment options.
Pay with bank cards: Mastercard, Visa, American Express, UnionPay, JCB, Maestro
Pay using an eWallet: PayPal, Amazon Pay, Google Pay, Apple Pay, Yandex, Qiwi, Skrill
Pay with money transfer: Sofort, iDEAL
Pay by direct debit
Pay with cryptocurrency: Bitcoin
Pay with prepaid cards: SNAP, Paysafecard
Buy now pay later: Klarna
For more information on selling in Europe, including best practices, take a look at our country-specific guides in Germany, France and Spain.
As the largest and most developed eCommerce market in the world, and with a disproportionally high annual growth rate of 45%, North America offers huge potential to expand your online business.
At present, you’ll find that credit cards are the preferred payment method in the States. However, Americans are also at the forefront of more recent types of payment methods, including one-click checkouts, mobile payments and digital currencies.
Pay with bank cards: Mastercard, American Express, Discover, JCB, Visa, Interac Online
Pay using an eWallet: PayPal, Apply Pay, Google Pay, Android Pay, Samsung Pay, Neteller
Pay with money transfer: Skrill
Pay by direct debit
Pay with cryptocurrency: Bitcoin
Pay with prepaid cards: Openbucks, Paysafecard
Buy now pay later: Klarna, Afterpay
Home to over 4.5 billion people with a diverse range of cultures, the Asian population uses a number of varying online payment methods.
For example, China is the biggest online retail market in the world and leads the way in mobile commerce, while India has largely been a cash-dominated economy.
Pay with bank cards: UnionPay, Mastercard, Visa, JCB, RuPay
Pay using an eWallet: WePay Chat, AliPay, Paytm, Apple Pay, Google Pay, GCash, PayPal, GrabPay, PayU Wallet, Mobikiwi, Citrus Pay
Pay with money transfer: SMART Money
Pay with cryptocurrency: Bitcoin
Buy now pay later: Afterpay, LazyPay
Pay with cash later: Konbini
Australia and New Zealand.
Card transactions remain the most frequently used for online payments in Ausralia and New Zealand. However, alternative payment methods, such as eWallets and real-time bank transfers, are growing in popularity.
What’s more, thanks to a booming retail and tourism industry, Australia and New Zealand have great potential for you to reach global audiences.
Pay with bank cards: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, JCB, Discover
Pay using an eWallet: PayPal, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, Google Pay
Pay with money transfer: Poli, BPay
Pay with cryptocurrency: Bitcoin
Pay with prepaid cards: Paysafecard
Buy now pay later: zipPay, Klarna, Afterpay, Openpay
So, what online payment methods should you use?
Before you can answer this, it’s essential that you know your target audience. Where are they based? How do they prefer to pay? And how do they respond to new payment technologies?
Without this knowledge, you run the risk of providing payment options that your customers don’t trust or simply aren’t interested in, putting the survival of your business at risk.
All in all, offering the right mix of online payment options is key to increase your conversation rate. Your customers should be able to pay for your products and services in the method they feel most comfortable with.