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Preferred global online payment methods

Preferred global online payment methods
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With the number of people opting to make their purchases online increasing all the time, having an online shop has become a necessity for many businesses worldwide.

Allowing people to purchase your products online, not just face-to-face or over the telephone, is one of the main ways to increase your revenue. For businesses looking to expand their offering on an international scale, as well as considering logistical issues such as shipping methods and timescales, it’s also essential to look at how your target country’s audience like to pay online.

Different cultures and people, prefer to pay in different ways. In the UK, for example, some people choose to pay via card, whilst others prefer to use Alternative Payment (AP) methods, such as Apple Pay. Countries and the people within them are not all alike in their attitudes towards online payment methods and for any business looking to expand into a new territory, this should be a key consideration. It may be a good idea, for example, to offer your customers 2 or 3 online payment methods.

If you don’t make it easy enough for your customers to pay, they may decide not to go ahead with their purchase and you could lose out on potential profit. It really is as simple as that.

According to new research by Worldpay, alternative payment methods could replace card payments by 2020. When it comes to preferred online payment methods, it pays to keep up-to-date.

Let’s take a look at a few countries and their preferred online payment methods.


The majority of French online shoppers tend to use their cards to pay online. According to statistics from Postnord, 35% of the online shoppers in France surveyed preferred to pay via PayPal or similar and only 4% preferred cash on delivery. This is a very different story to some other European countries, with 24% of Polish shoppers, for example, preferring cash on delivery and only 14% preferring to pay via credit or debit card.


The same publication from Postnord suggests that in Italy, unlike France, there is no one payment method favoured by the majority of the country.

The largest percentage (45%) of Italians said that they preferred PayPal or similar, while 30% stated that they would prefer to pay by card. 13% of Italians said they would prefer to pay cash on delivery.


According to the same survey, 29% of Germans preferred to pay by invoice in arrears, something that is almost unheard of in the UK online retail marketplace. Indeed, only 17% of German people said they would prefer to pay by card and 32% said they would prefer to use PayPal or similar.

For businesses hoping to tap into the German online retail market, it’s essential to offer customers the option to pay by invoice in arrears.


According to Statista, the preferred digital payment method in Spain in 2015 was Visa, at 63%, followed by MasterCard at 28%. Paypal came in at only 6%.

If you’re looking to sell your products online in Spain, offering your customers the option to pay via Visa or MasterCard is vital.


Alternative payment methods Alipay and Tenpay, both eWallets, are the most popular online payment methods in China, while credit and debit cards only have a 20% share of the total market, according to Worldpay.

Some experts suggest that card schemes, such as UnionPay, will become more popular amongst Chinese consumers over the next few years and alternative payment methods could decrease a little.

Interestingly, Worldpay suggests that by 2034, China’s online retail market could make up 50% of the worldwide online spend.


With only an estimated 26% of the population being internet users, there is potential for a lot of growth in ecommerce over the next decade or so.

Most online shoppers in India prefer to pay cash on delivery or via bank transfers.

Worldpay describes the Indian e-commerce market as “primed for rapid growth”. For businesses looking to tap into this market, it’s important to ensure that alternative payment methods to credit and debit cards are offered to consumers.


In Japan, many online shoppers prefer to pay for their goods with cash, at shops called Konbinis, rather than using credit and debit cards (which aren’t particularly popular in Japan).

If you’re hoping to offer your products to the Japanese, it’s essential to enable shoppers to pay in this way.


Credit and debit cards are still the favoured form of payment in the UK when it comes to online sales, closely followed by PayPal. Apple Pay and Google Wallet are also popular in the UK.

Cash on delivery is preferred by a very small minority of the population.

Online payment methods: the future
Worldpay suggests that niche alternatives, such as prepay cards and mobile wallets, will continue to make headway against traditional payment options (credit cards, for example) in the coming years. In the U.S., for example, mobile wallet use is expected to increase by 7%. By 2020, this could result in mobile wallets being more popular amongst U.S. online shoppers than debit and credit cards.

Worldpay’s report goes on to say that in India, prepaid cards, bank transfers and prepay could gain market share by 2020, at the same time as credit card usage falling by 6%.

Overall, Worldpay predicts that, what feel like niche payment methods today, will grow in every market over the next few years.

This means that it’s essential for online businesses to stay up to date with trends in every country they’re selling in, to ensure that they are still offering customers their preferred online payment methods.

According to research by yStats.com, three quarters of online merchants offer at least 3 different online payment methods, proving that it’s important not to just go with one payment method, but to instead offer consumers a choice.

If you want to sell your goods on an international scale, it’s important to offer payment methods that your target country are comfortable using. Failure to do so could cost you customers.

If you would like to know more about preferred online payment methods, or need help reaching your international customers with translation please get in touch to speak to one of our SEM specialists.