Main Categories for E-Commerce Payment Methods

Online payments options generally fall into one of six meta-categories:

  • Credit/Debit/Prepaid card payments: Cards represent the most popular worldwide payment method in the India, Canada, Mexico, China, Korea, and most of Western Europe.
  • Bank transfers: Some e-commerce websites prefer to instruct their customers to make bank transfers directly their accounts, often using an IBAN number.
  • E-Wallets: E-wallets require customers and merchants to sign up and create accounts, then deposit and withdraw money from linked bank accounts. E-wallets like Paypal and AliPay are very popular in the United States and China, respectively.
  • Cash: In India, Romania, Russia, and many other parts of the world, cash remains king – even for e-commerce. Not offering a cash-on-delivery service is a surefire way to miss out on these markets.
  • Direct carrier payments: For some products and services, the ability to bill customers directly through their existing telephone or utility carrier is the most efficient way to effectuate payment.

Each of the options listed below uses one or more of these six e-commerce payment methods to effectuate payments. Your e-commerce store can (and should) offer more than one option in order to attract the greatest number of customers, but you will find that cultural and industry norms tend to dictate what platform most of your customers prefer to use.