Global Online Payment Methods

Credit Cards

You may be doing everything correct in multilingual search – from translating your content properly to localizing your keywords and putting proper canonical tags on the pages – and still find out that you can’t seem to sell anything online in other countries. It might have to do with your online payment methods.

Payment methods per country vary as much as the language, culture, and people vary. According to a report published by eMarketer last year, global ecommerce sales grew 21.1 percent to top $1 trillion for the first time. If you aren’t part of that by now, you’re missing out on huge opportunities.

Vast Differences in Global Payment Methods

In the U.S. we use credit cards religiously, however you might find in the UK and France that most people prefer debit cards. People in Germany would rather use PayPal or online bank transfers. You might find others in Asia who prefer mobile payments.

Speaking of “religiously”, according to NBC News, a Gulf state-owned bank rolled out a new MasterCard that not only complies with Islamic laws banning loans with interest but also includes an embedded compass pointing the way to Mecca.

It isn’t only what cultures use credit cards, it’s also how they use them.

A recent Citibank public opinion survey found that the Chinese would use credit cards for big expensive household items, where in Australia the opposite is true, they use credit cards for small items – utility bills, and such.

Canadians would spend on average of $8,000 a year on credit cards, where the French would spend close to $300 per year. Fifty percent of Americans hold balances on their credit cards, where more than 80 percent of Koreans pay their credit cards off every month.

Making an effort to get your pages to rank takes tons of time, skill, and know how. The worst thing would be to find out that you weren’t using what the specific locale likes to use for payments online.

If you’re looking to increase your conversion rate, here’s a roundup of a few popular countries online payment methods (according to Forrester Research):

  • Australia: Credit cards are the most popular followed by Paypal
  • Canada: Credit cards are popular, then Paypal then Debit cards
  • China: Most people use Alipay (provided by Alibaba), a third pay by cash
  • France: Debit cards are used mainly followed by Paypal
  • Germany: Online bank transfers believe it or not work well, followed by paypal.
  • Japan: Credit cards are most popular followed by cash.
  • South Korea: Credit cards are the most popular
  • United Kingdom: Debit is still the most popular followed by PayPal

Outside of Credit and Debit Cards…

Online payment systems such as PayPal are dominating the global market place. However, local and regional online payment sites continue to gain trust and confidence with users abroad. DineroMail and MercadoPago for example, specialize in the Latin American market and Boleto in Brazil.

Skrill (formerly MoneyBookers) is one of Europe’s largest online payment providers, offering its clients more than 100 payment options in 200 countries and territories. It allows online businesses to make use of payment services without going through complex integration procedures.

Skrill’s payment solutions are used by over 140,000 online merchants around the world and just last week, they partnered with Yandex in Russia, integrating with Yandex-money (the most popular form of payment) and now opening up a massive ecommerce opportunity for global advertisers targeting the Russian speaking markets.

The next largest growth area internationally is mobile payments. According to a report on Global Online Payment Methods by, the global mobile payment transaction volume is estimated to increase by almost three quarters in 2012, compared to 2011. Both MasterCard (MasterCard Mobile) and Visa ( are looking to be key players here.


In order to really increase your conversions exponentially, learn more about the payment methods of the countries you target. It signals trust and authority to your targeted local audience as well as providing all the options available to get you paid.

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