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Alternative payments: the future of e-commerce?
E‐Commerce » Trends | 21.10.2015

Alternative payments: the future of e-commerce?


As e-commerce becomes truly global, we are beginning to see greater diversity in what people are buying, when they are making their purchases, and how they are completing their transactions. With the British Retail Consortium’s Payments Survey revealing strong growth in the alternative payments sector, are these newer payment methods the future of e-commerce?

There is an incredible variety of alternative payments available, from direct debits and bank transfers to mobile payments and e-wallets, with a range of digital currencies also in the mix. Offering convenience to shoppers, alternative payments often make the most of technological advances, and some, such as PayPal, are well-established names across the world.

“We’re entering an exciting time for retail as technology continues to have a major impact on everything we do - this is just as true for methods of payment as it is for how products are sold.” - Helen Dickinson, BRC Director General

Worldpay’s 2014 guide to global payments states that by 2017, 59% of all global transactions will be made with alternative payment methods, demonstrating the sheer potential of the sector - and there’s a fantastic diversity between and within regions.

For instance, emerging e-commerce markets, such as Asia-Pacific and Africa, are embracing alternative payments, combining rapid growth with the latest leaps in technology. But even within established e-commerce markets like Europe, it is important to consider individual markets and their preferences. Shoppers in the Netherlands and Poland mostly use bank transfers, while e-wallets are taking great strides in Italy, and Russia. Even in Germany, a very mature market, only about 20% of transactions are carried out by card.


Alternative payments really are part of the future of e-commerce - is your online business catering for local preferences?