When it comes to e-commerce transactions, one of the most important things any website owner can do is eliminate potential barriers to making a purchase. This could include being transparent about shipping fees or reducing the number of pages someone needs to click through to check out.

But one of the most important things to consider is whether you’re offering enough payment options.

Today’s customers don’t just use credit cards to make online purchases. Many are relying on alternative payment methods — and if your website isn’t set up to process them, you could be missing out on potential buyers.

What Are Alternative Payment Methods?

“Alternative payment methods” is a broad term, as generally speaking, it is used to describe any type of payment made not using a major credit card or cash.

Some of the most prolific alternative payment methods are digital wallets, including Apple Pay, Google Pay, and Cash App. These digital wallets are used to store financial information like credit cards and debit cards in a secure app on your mobile device. They can even be used for storing banking information and your driver’s license.

Because of their security and convenience, many people prefer to simply store all their information in a digital wallet and use it to process their payments, rather than directly using a credit card or debit card.

Online payment platforms such as PayPal can also be considered a digital wallet, as they will typically link to a bank account or credit card for payment processing.

Another increasingly popular alternative payment option is the use of a “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) program. These programs typically break a larger purchase into four separate payments — potentially without paying any interest.

Growing Popularity of Alternative Payments

Alternative payment methods have ballooned in popularity in recent years. For example, in Germany, 57 percent of shoppers use PayPal to make online purchases. In Latin America, where credit card ownership has historically always been low, 40 percent of e-commerce purchases are made with an alternative payment method. This includes cryptocurrencies, digital wallets, and account-based transfers.

In the United States, buy now pay later programs have become especially popular. Sixty percent of Americans say they’ve used BNPL services — and the total number of BNPL loans increased an astounding 970 percent between 2019 and 2021.

Many major retailers have implemented at least some of these alternative payment options as part of their standard checkout process, with digital wallets and BNPL services being especially widespread.

Make Sure You Can Serve All Customers

With more and more customers preferring to use alternative payment methods, your e-commerce website’s ability to process these methods could play a big role in your continued growth. Online shoppers are looking for convenience. Making it easy to pay using their preferred method can be the deciding factor that helps them choose you over a competitor.

For WordPress site owners, look for payment plugins that will help you process alternative payments so you can make even more sales. The more options you can securely provide, the better.